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Manfacturing sector expands after Covid-related contraction

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The manufacturing sector is expanding at a faster rate following a spate of negative contractions associated with the Delta lockdown and other Covid-19 restrictions.

Stock image of boxes with Made in New Zealand stamped on the side.

Photo: 123rf

The latest BNZ-BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index for December was a seasonally adjusted 53.7 points.

Anything above 50 indicated expansion, with all key indicators above that mark, with production (56.4) and new orders (57.5) recording their highest values since July 2021.

Employment (52.0) was back into expansion, as well as finished stocks (52.8).

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel said the average expansion over the final three months of 2021 indicated a return to positive economic growth for the manufacturing sector, after being sharply negative in the prior quarter.

However, he said challenges remained with ongoing labour shortages and international supply chain disruptions.

“Deliveries of raw materials remains a clear outlier among the sub-components,” he said.

“While this indicator did lift to 50.0 in December from a very weak 43.9 in November, it remains below its long-term average of 52.9.”

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