Otago manufacturing leads

Otago manufacturing data continues to lead the countryas all regions are still in expansion mode, but all showed some cooling in overall activity during April.

While the manufacturing sector has now been in expansion for 19 consecutive months, the level of expansion was not as strong as the previous month, possibly because of the effects of Easter and Anzac Day creating a long holiday for many, according to the latest BNZ-Business New Zealand performance of manufacturing index, released yesterday.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said, despite what looks like a ''holiday-induced slowdown'' in April, the trends in the index remained strong, especially in employment.

''Buoyant construction and agriculture sectors look supportive on the demand side,'' he said.

An index reading above 50 indicates expansion, and below 50, contraction.

Nationally, the index fell 2.8 points from March to 55.2, while Otago's 2.1-point dip to 57.7 was far ahead of the other three regions; the northern North Island was down to 53, central North island dropped to 51.3 and Canterbury/Westland was at 50.1 points.

Mr Steel said the total annual value of building consents, both residential and commercial, had now pushed beyond $12 billion, and past its previous peak in 2008.

''The positive outlook for construction in particular should underpin further manufacturing expansion for the foreseeable future. It looks like manufacturers are gearing up for it,'' he said.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz


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