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Manufacturers Confidence Slides From Peak In March

Manufacturers Confidence Slides From A Peak In The March Quarter

“The good news is that the latest WestpacTrust manufacturers business opinion survey shows, for the fourth quarter in a row, that a net number of manufacturers remain positive about their future business situation”, said Simon Carlaw Chief Executive of the Manufacturers Federation. Prior to 1999 we had four years where, for most of the time, a net number of manufacturers had anticipated a deteriorating business situation.

“Profits are also up with a net 3% of firms reporting an increase in profits for the quarter, the first positive result since December 1994.

“However, the survey also shows that this confidence is declining. Compared with the March 1999 quarter, fewer companies believe that their business situation will improve in the near future. This is despite a net 26% of manufacturers, the highest since December 1994, reporting an increase in export sales.

“Investment intentions moved into the positive for the first time this year, but only just, while a stronger showing had been anticipated.

“Uncertainty over the election outcome and possible Reserve Bank action on interest rates have all served to dampen optimism. For manufacturers selling domestically another concern is the continuing growth of Asian imports driven by the devaluation of their currencies.

“While longer term prospects are still positive, each of these factors will continue to have an impact on the optimism of manufacturers in the short term.”
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