New Zealand’s manufacturing sector experienced decreased levels of expansion for March, according to the latest BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).
The seasonally adjusted PMI for March was 51.9 (a PMI reading above 50.0 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). This was 1.5 points down from February, and the lowest level of activity since July 2018.
BusinessNZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said that the slow level of expansion for March meant the first quarter of 2019 averaged out at 52.7, which was below the long run average of 53.4 for the survey.
Looking at the main sub-index values, both production (51.4) and new orders (52.5) both dropped from February. However, employment (51.9) did pick up slightly – the only sub-index to improve from February.
Despite the dip in expansion levels, the proportion of positive comments for March (52.6%) was up on both February (51.6%) and January (47.7%). Both positive and negative comments did not identify a clear major influence, which generally summed up the low but steady level of activity for the sector.
BNZ Senior Economist, Craig Ebert said that “slow as it might appear, New Zealand’s PMI of 51.9 in March was certainly doing well in a global context. Of all the deceleration that has occurred in the world economy over the last 6-12 months, manufacturing has been at the forefront”.