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Confidence – a thing of the past?

Confidence – a thing of the past?

Performance slipped and confidence dropped in the Canterbury Manufacturers' Association survey of manufacturers conducted in MARCH 2003. Most forward indicators, confidence and both export and local sales fell. “Things held up to FEBUARY but really slipped in MARCH” said John Walley.

Sales in FEBUARY 2003, when compared to FEBUARY 2002, were down over 6%. Confidence moved toward a neutral position with the pessimists winning on the numbers. "Slower sales, particularly export may have been the cause, or the wider issues such as the conflict in the Gulf getting off the ground,” said John Walley, CEO of the Canterbury Manufacturers' Association. “Net confidence reported in MARCH was –6%, well down from 21% in the survey completed in FEBUARY."

Export sales decreased for the month of FEBUARY 2003 by nearly 13% on FEBUARY 2002 and domestic sales were down a little at just under 2%. "All our leading indicators reversed in the month indicating a severe change of intentions reflecting the loss of confidence" said John Walley. "Hope may have been lost in a sand storm.”

On a brighter note reversing the recent trend, staff numbers increased by over 5% on the same period last year. “Staff shortages are still giving rise to comment.” said John Walley.

Constraints were identified as market conditions 65%, capacity 24% with skilled staff at 12% with no mention of investment. "Some respondents continue to report signs of the international technology sector recovery, others confirm the softening of the local market," said Mr Walley.

"Exchange rates and electricity supply gave rise to most comment. This echoed the feeling reported previously, these are not new issues and require broadly based solutions. The periodic extinction of either exporting companies or the will to export caused by significant and rapid excursions in the cross rates, particularly on the Australian cross, needs to be addressed.” said Walley “From the cost standpoint reasonable prices and longer term security of electricity supply are a prerequisite of a first world economy.” said Mr Walley.

"Around the world we are seeing governments (USA, France, UK, Germany, Australia …) becoming more and more active in encouraging economic development driving increases in gross domestic product per person focusing on small to medium enterprise in high value added areas” said John Walley “Our pockets are not so deep, we have to focus more and do it smarter.”

CANTERBURY MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION Survey of Business Conditions
February 2002 compared with February 2003

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