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Regions, manufacturing activity healthy

26 March 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Regions, manufacturing activity show ongoing health

The latest manufacturing and regional economic activity data show ongoing health despite the challenges posed to the economy from the high Kiwi dollar, says Progressive MP Matt Robson.

"It was reported today that manufacturing activity rose in February, according to the ANZ-Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index. The index rose 3.8 points from January to stand at 55.2 in February 2004 – any reading above 50 points indicates expansion in activity," he said.

The strength of the local currency is a real concern for many exporters, but nevertheless some companies reported an up-tick in export orders in February.

The Regional Trends Survey produced by National Bank, meanwhile, found that 13 of the New Zealand's 14 regions recorded quarter-on-quarter expansion in economic activity in the three months ended December 31.

"I have been approached by exporters telling me about the affects on their operations of the high currency. The very significant decline in the value of the U.S. dollar against many other currencies, including our own, is clearly challenging for many New Zealand exporters and workers at exporting companies," Matt Robson said.

The government has signalled that exporters can expect some relief in the May 27 Budget.

ENDS

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