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Australia trade props up confidence of New Zealand manufacturers

(Xinhua)

15:08, August 11, 2011

WELLINGTON, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Trade with Australia buoyed New Zealand manufacturers' confidence in July despite the impact of the strong New Zealand dollar on exports, according to the latest BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).

The seasonally adjusted PMI for July was 53.2, slightly down from the June result of 54.3.

A PMI reading above 50 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding, and below 50 contracting.

"There is no doubting that negative comments describing the overall value of the New Zealand dollar have increased from June as more manufacturers experience tighter competition for the exporting dollar," said Business New Zealand Executive Director for manufacturing Catherine Beard.

"However, Australia remains a suitable destination for New Zealand exports given the ongoing competitive exchange rate by historical standards," she said.

"We also need to throw in recent global economic turbulence which has seen the New Zealand dollar drop back on various currencies. How that plays out in terms of increased orders remains to be seen given jitters in the markets may also have an adverse effect on demand."

BNZ economist Doug Steel said attention was on world financial market volatility at present, but the New Zealand economy was showing strong momentum.

"This is important momentum to confirm, especially in the event that the latest world financial market wobbles dent confidence as it well might," said Steel.

"The New Zealand economy has a decent amount of momentum to carry it through at least some short term nervousness in world financial markets."

All five seasonally adjusted PMI indices were in expansion in July, with new orders at 56, deliveries at 53.7, employment 52.2 its highest result since March production 51.8, and finished stocks 50.7.

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