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Manufacturers Cautiously Optimistic

Media statement
Friday, April 30th, 1am 2004

Manufacturers cautiously optimistic

The outlook for manufacturers in the northern and central regions has been steadily improving this year according to the ANZ/Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).

The New Zealand PMI is directly comparable with similar indices in Australia, US, Europe, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

"Manufacturing north of Taupo has recovered from 48.1 in March 2003 on the PMI to 58.3 for March 2004," said Bruce Goldsworthy, manager of Manufacturing Services for the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern). (Above 50 indicates expansion; below 50 indicates contraction)

"It's fair to say manufacturers in the north are cautiously optimistic in the short term so long as the exchange rate keeps recovering to more 'trade favourable' levels, and construction work locally is ongoing.

"The New Orders sub index in the north (60.3) is keeping pace with production levels (also 60.3) with New Orders elsewhere in the country running ahead of production.

"This augurs well for continued manufacturing expansion.

"In contrast to the business confidence survey results just out, our manufacturers' production levels are more resilient than we hoped, both to the adverse exchange rate and the rural downturn.

"However the production index for Waikato/Bay of Plenty is lagging no doubt as a result of the effects of the pessimistic farm outlook."


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