NZ manufacturing drops for first time since 2011

Total manufacturing volume in New Zealand fell in the March 2013 quarter. This is the first such drop since the September 2011 quarter.

Figures released by statistics NZ reveal that, after adjusting for price changes and seasonal variations, the volume of total manufacturing sales fell 0.6 percent. A fall in metal product manufacturing led this decrease.

As reported in stuff.co.nz, aluminium sales fell by 13 per cent compared to the December quarter. The drop can be explained by low international demand for aluminium from the Tiwai smelter, combined with the high New Zealand dollar.

"The fall occurred despite a rise in meat and dairy product manufacturing, the largest manufacturing industry. Increased meat exports reflected this rise," industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said in a statement.

Of the 13 manufacturing industries, six were down in the March 2013 quarter.

The largest movements this quarter included:

  • metal product manufacturing, down 6.2 percent
  • transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing, down 4.2 percent
  • petroleum and coal product manufacturing, up 5.9 percent.

The trend for the manufacturing sales volume, which gives a longer-term picture of movements, has been rising since late 2011, but now appears to be flattening.

In current prices, the total manufacturing sales value rose 0.2 percent ($49 million) to a seasonally adjusted $22.9 billion.

This drop in manufacturing follows more than a year of good results for the sector.