South leads regions in manufacturing

John Scandrett
John Scandrett
Manufacturing in Otago and Southland during November eclipsed an otherwise lacklustre national effort, heading up the four regional territories.

Otago-Southland topped the scale at 65 points, with Canterbury-Westland on 62, the northern North Island on 56.6 and the central North Island on 51.7, according to the monthly BNZ Business New Zealand performance of manufacturing index.

Scores above 50 show expansion, and below 50 contraction. The national result was up only slightly from October at 48.8 points, after seasonal adjustments are made.

Otago Southland Employers' Association chief executive John Scandrett had expected to see some expansion come through the southern data this month, reflected by Otago Southland logging 54 points in October and yesterday's ''strong'' 65-point result.

''The November sub-indices readings all present expansionary trending patterns.

''It's great to see the continuing buoyancy on a widespread production focus, especially so since new orders and deliveries have dropped into line, or in some cases have exceeded the manufacturing capacities available,'' Mr Scandrett said in a statement.

He said southern business owners appeared to be anticipating that gains would eventually materialise and they were willing to take ''prudent and timely steps'' to be prepared for that.

Earlier this week, Statistics New Zealand data showed strong outcomes across agribusiness generally for the quarter to September, and the November manufacturing index supported the fact Otago Southland food and beverage operators were experiencing uplift in those areas, Mr Scandrett said.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said many factors influencing manufacturing remained, some positive and some negative.

''While the overall results have been relatively stable of late, there continues to be considerable variation in the details,'' Mr Steel said.

The accumulating evidence of improvement in construction activity gave some cautious optimism for 2013, amid some obvious strong headwinds such as the strength of the New Zealand dollar ''and patchy international demand'', he said.




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