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The pain goes on ...

3 November 2005

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The pain goes on ...

The latest Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association Survey of Manufacturers completed during October 2005, shows total sales in September 2005 were down 4.5%, (export sales down 8.7% and domestic sales up slightly at about 1.4%) on September 2004.

The Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association survey sample this month reported around NZ$540m in annualised sales, with an export content of 57%.

“The trend in sales is now starting to reflect sentiment,” says John Walley, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Manufacturers’ Association. “The NZ dollar lifted 1 USc and 2 AUc as this survey was open and we don’t expect things to improve much in the near future.”

“Pain levels are holding up, along with the exchange rate.”

“The exchange rate should be under downward pressure from the current account deficit, but capital flows supporting consumer credit seems to be winning right now, this looks set for a painful correction in the wider economy.”

“Net confidence lifted a little to -27 against -36 last month; some misery is still with us.”

“One bright spot in the survey shows investment continuing to increase.”

“Sector comments remain variable, what has been the bright spot, construction, is indicating that growth in the sector has stopped. More broadly, consumer channels seem to be overstocked and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) orders are increasingly volatile.”

“The headline issue for the month was Air New Zealand and its sell down of more core capability in terms of engineering expertise. The 600 jobs in maintenance at Air New Zealand are the tip of the iceberg, other general engineers can expect to see the knock-on effect impacting their existence. Is anything strategic?”

“We may be losing what we would not have lost had all things been equal – once it has gone it will be much harder to replace.”

The current performance index (a combination of profitability and cash flow) stands at 98 from 93 last month, the change index (capacity utilisation, staff levels, orders and inventories) sits at 99 down from 101 last month, the forecast index (investment, sales, profitability and staff) remains on par with last month at 96.

“Our members look to the new Government to deliver coherent policies targeted at encouraging and supporting productive investment and growth.”

Constraints focused on staff ~7%, markets ~87%, capital ~7% and capacity was not noted as a constraint.

Staff numbers reported a fall in the month of around 0.3%.

ENDS

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