Otago Southland manufacturing had food and beverage emerge
as a strong sector in the survey; pictured, the Octagon in
Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Manufacturing in Otago-Southland leads the country -
underpinned by production - with the overall index having been
in expansion mode for the past 18 months.
The monthly BNZ-Business New Zealand performance in
manufacturing index indicates Otago Southland built from 56.4
points in January to 61.7 in February; eclipsing the national
figure of 56.2. Readings above 50 indicate expansion and
below 50, contraction.
From January to February, the Otago-Southland index recorded
a substantial rise in its production sub-index, which was an
''instrumental factor'' in driving the regional index to a
national-leading 61.7 value points, Otago-Southland Employers
Association chief executive John Scandrett told the ODT.
''Across the board, as one would expect given this strong
outcome, survey feedback is directly oriented towards the
expansionary tracking patterns seen,'' Mr Scandrett said.
However, he noted there was ''some disquiet'', especially
where cross-rate New Zealand and Australian currency issues
''challenged net returns'' in selected metal and packaging
Otago Southland's recording was well ahead of next-placed
central North Island on 57.3, followed by
Canterbury/Westland's 53.7 and northern North Island's 52.9.
It mirrored last year's February result, which Otago
Southland also led.
Business New Zealand executive director for manufacturing
Catherine Beard said that the manufacturing index was going
through one of its most stable periods of expansion since the
''The last six months of manufacturing expansion have
remained at the 56-point value, which represents a very solid
level of activity.
''Although new orders [nationally] slipped somewhat in
February, production remains buoyant, while employment has
shown more positive growth for two of the last three
months,'' she said in a statement.
Mr Scandrett said food and beverage sentiment again emerged
as a ''solid plank'' in the Otago Southland index.
Comments from that sub-sector indicated some successful new
marketing strategies were at least partially behind the
generation of the positive outcomes.
''It's also good be able to point to forward momentum in the
clothing and textile sector, as quite often this business, at
least on the domestic market, has to face variable tourist
flow factors,'' Mr Scandrett said; singling out recent
strength in Chinese visitor numbers.
BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said the ''real news'' in
the index was its employment index, which was close to its
highest since 2003.
''This is evidence that the economic upswing is gaining
momentum, spreading across industries and fully radiating
into the labour market.''