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December 2004 was a good month!

31 January 2005 IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 2004 was a good month!

The latest Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association Survey of Manufacturers completed during January 2005 shows total sales in December 2004 were up over 8%, domestic sales increased nearly 4% and export sales increased by over 16% on December 2003.

It is worth keeping in mind that the Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association survey reports close on NZ$850m in sales, with well over 40% export content in the sample. As a result it is a good reflection of the health and performance of the manufacturing sector.

“Sales increased and so did confidence, possibly on the back of seasonal goodwill. However confidence remains toward the negative end of the scale seen over the past couple of years or so.” said John Walley, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association.

“Domestic sales increased only slightly with a surprising jump in export sales; however for most people December 2004 was nearly a four working week month as against a three working week month in 2003. So perhaps an increase was to be anticipated.”

“The New Year opened with no margin relief from exchange rates as both the Australian and the US dollar indicate little new hope of improved returns from export sales in the near term.”

“How long manufacturers will hang in there returning little margin and hoping for a fall in the NZ$ is hard to say, but once they pull back from export markets the loss might be permanent.”

“Staff numbers reported a 6% fall in the month and trends indicate stability in the numbers employed.”

“Our net leading indicators for profit, sales, investment and staff all reversed the downward trend, perhaps an indication of respondents feeling good after the holidays?”

“As ever the market remains the major constraint in the survey.”

Net confidence ran out at +5, an improvement from -7 last month.

Around 60% of respondents indicated market conditions as the major constraint; finding staff a problem for 15%, with capacity an issue for 25%.

CANTERBURY MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION

Survey of Business Conditions – December 2003 compared with December 2004

SAMPLE SIZE: The Survey respondents represent elaborate transformed manufacturers with annual sales of approximately $841 million.

CHANGE OVER 12 MONTH PERIOD
(The table below represents the above returns expressed as percentages)
Dec Nov
TOTAL TURNOVER: Export /Domestic ratio 42/58 45/55
% Change in Total Turnover INCREASED 8.7 15.3

DOMESTIC TURNOVER: % of respondents reporting a rise 72 69
% of respondents reporting a fall 16 23
% of respondents reporting no change 11 7
% Change in Ave Domestic Turnover INCREASED 3.95 21.49

EXPORT TURNOVER: % of exporters reporting a rise 63 70
% of exporters reporting a fall 27 30
% of exporters reporting no change 9 0
% Change in Average Export Turnover INCREASED 16.19 8.51

STAFF NUMBERS: % of respondents reporting a rise 40 76
% of respondents reporting a fall 50 15
% of respondents reporting no change 10 7
% Change in Average Staff Numbers DECREASED -6.05 7.80

CHANGE OVER 12 MONTH PERIOD
(The table below represents the above returns expressed as percentages)

Large Fall
(Over 15%) Modest Fall
(2.5%-15%) No Change
(Within 2.5%) Modest Rise
(2.5%-15%) Large Rise
(Over 15%)
Dec Nov Dec Nov Dec Nov Dec Nov Dec Nov
Profitability (YoY) 35 7 15 20 15 40 30 20 5 13
Cashflow (YoY) 20 13 15 27 25 27 30 20 10 13
Exchange Rate (YoY) 11 13 37 33 32 20 21 33 0 0
Investment Forecast 15 20 10 13 25 27 40 33 10 7
Sales Forecast 5 7 10 0 35 53 35 27 15 13
Profit Forecast 10 13 10 7 35 47 35 20 10 13
Staffing Forecast 5 7 10 13 45 47 30 20 10 13
Confidence Very
Negative Negative Neutral Positive Very
Positive
5 13 26 13 32 53 26 7 11 13
Constraint Production Skilled Staff Capital Market
25 20 15 13 0 0 60 67

Net Confidence Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2003 +24 +21 +12 -11 -5 +12 -6 0 +11 +40 +29 +33
2004 +5 +19 +41 +41 +36 +50 +12 +20 +7 0 -7 +5

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