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Petrol leads fall in manufacturing

Petroleum and coal product manufacturing led the falls in manufacturing in the March 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

The total volume of manufacturing sales fell 1.7 percent in the March 2020 quarter after a 2.8 percent rise in the December 2019 quarter, when adjusted for seasonal effects.

Petroleum and coal products had the largest industry decrease in the March 2020 quarter, down 3.3 percent.

“There was less demand for fuel at the end of the quarter, when travel restrictions and the lockdown to combat COVID-19 reduced the movements of New Zealanders,” business statistics manager Kathy Hicks said.

See COVID-19 data portal for traffic counts and fuel supply volumes.

“This coincided with a tumble in world crude oil prices at the end of the quarter,” Ms Hicks said.

“Prices received by petroleum and coal manufacturers fell, as well as manufacturing sales volumes.”

See Business price indexes: March 2020 quarter for further details on the price changes.

“As demand for fuel dropped during the COVID lockdown, stock inventories rose sharply,” Ms Hicks said.

Petroleum and coal product manufacturing volumes of finished good stocks rose 27 percent ($219 million) in the March 2020 quarter compared with the December 2019 quarter. The latest increase is the largest quarterly rise for the industry in 11 years.

Sales volumes for eight of the 13 industries fell in the March 2020 quarter. These were partly offset by rises in wood and paper products (up 3.4 percent), beverage and tobacco products (up 4.4 percent), and fruit, oil, cereal, and other food manufacturing (up 1.2 percent).

“These industries include businesses that produce goods for supermarkets and dairies, which experienced record-high sales in the March quarter leading up to the COVID-19 lockdown. Reports of people stocking up on toilet paper and other household staples helped drive the increases in these industries,” Ms Hicks said.

See Retail trade survey: March 2020 quarter for more details on the retail sales for March.

Manufacturing sales values show mixed results

In current prices, the sales value for manufacturing in the March 2020 quarter remained relatively flat (down $2 million) compared with the December 2019 quarter.

Petroleum and coal products manufacturing had the largest decrease, down 12 percent ($303 million). In contrast, beverage and tobacco products manufacturing had the largest increase, up 6.1 percent ($93 million).

With price effects included, the unadjusted value of manufacturing sales was $29 billion in the March 2020 quarter, up $805 million from the March 2019 quarter.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit Economic survey of manufacturing: March 2020 quarter
• See CSV files for download

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