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Growth In Manufacturing Slows

Economic Survey Of Manufacturing: June 2000 Quarter

Growth in manufacturing sales slowed in the June 2000 quarter, Statistics New Zealand's latest Quarterly Manufacturing Survey shows. After seasonal variations were removed, sales rose by just 0.7 per cent, the smallest increase since December 1998. The increase was driven by rising prices. With inflationary effects removed, the volume of sales fell by 0.6 per cent.

Manufacturing output prices have now been rising for five consecutive quarters. In the latest quarter they were on average 1.4 per cent higher than in the March 2000 quarter. The low New Zealand dollar continues to place upward pressure on prices. Input prices, which have followed a similar trend to output prices, increased by 1.7 per cent.

Growth in seasonally adjusted sales was mixed in the June 2000 quarter with half of the 10 industries recording increased sales and the other half recording a drop in sales from the last quarter. The largest increase came from petroleum, coal, chemical and associated product manufacturing with $133 million additional sales. This was due to higher sales of basic chemical manufactured products, which includes fertiliser manufacturing and methanol production. Improving pulp prices and increased demand for pulp, paper and paperboard from Asian markets contributed to the increase of $111 million in sales of wood and paper manufactured products.

Meat and dairy manufactured products provided an offsetting decrease in sales of $125 million, following four quarters of successive growth. According to media reports dairy herds in Waikato dried off earlier than usual due to dry weather conditions. This may have contributed to a fall in dairy product sales. Approximately a third of the national dairy herd is in Waikato.

Ian Ewing Deputy Government Statistician

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