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Full of Good Cheer

Full of Good Cheer

Has confidence bounced back in anticipation of the festive season? Again we saw overall performance slip and confidence grow in our survey of Canterbury manufacturers completed in DECEMBER. The middle ground strengthened and the pessimists evaporated. “The marginally optimistic came back with the sunshine and the season. Net confidence reported in DECEMBER was +24 21 up from +6 in our survey completed in NOVEMBER,” said John Walley, CEO of the Canterbury Manufacturers' Association.

Overall dollar sales decreased for the month of NOVEMBER by around 11 14% on NOVEMBER 2001, with domestic sales down by over13% 9% and export sales down by about 11% . 20%. “There is not a lot of cheer in these numbers,” said Mr Walley. “However, anticipated sales and profits seem to have firmed, lifting sentiment.”

Staff numbers have shown a decrease of just over 3% on the same period last year. In the survey completed in DECEMBER our net leading indicators - staff, investment, profitability and turnover all improved, back on trend for the last half of 2002. "Perhaps there is a feeling that the edge has moved away again, the sun is shining and good cheer seems to be with us,” said John Walley.

From the constraint standpoint, market conditions remained at 65% were 60% with skilled staff constraints at 12% . 15%. Capacity was cited as a constraint by the balance of our respondents.

"The continued strength of the Kiwi against the US and Australia dollar caused most comment. Potential loss of freight competition associated with the Air New Zealand/Qantas issues was also a hot button,” said John Walley

“Confidence is nice but sales drive growth and accelerating economic growth needs more emphasis in the New Zealand political landscape. Thinking things are fine can lead to complacency,” said John Walley. “Without growth in the manufacturing sector, particularly amongst our small and medium sized companies, there will not be much good cheer in the future.”

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