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New Zealand manufacturers still confident after flat 2012


13:46, January 24, 2013

WELLINGTON, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand manufacturers ended 2012 on a flat note, but confident of a better year ahead, according to the results of the latest performance of manufacturing index (PMI).

The BNZ-Business New Zealand PMI for December was 50.1 on scale where a reading above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction.

The reading was 1.3 points up from November, and brought the average PMI over last year to a "generally flat value of 50.9," said a statement from Business New Zealand.

Business New Zealand executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said the December result was symptomatic of what manufacturers experienced in 2012.

"Five of the 12 months were in contraction, with only two months (February and May) showing any sufficient levels of expansion," Beard said in the statement.

"However, despite the fairly unexciting result, comments by manufacturers remain more positive than negative, while we remain well ahead of where Australian manufacturing sits at present with all but two of their months in contraction. Also, the latest JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI for December (50.2) shows that what we are experiencing is really no different to other countries. "

This year would most likely present similar challenges for many manufacturers, although the long awaited expectation of increased growth due to a slowly improving global economy and the growing momentum in the rebuild of earthquake-battered Christchurch should assist in driving up demand, she said.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said December looked a lot like 2012 as a whole with "lots of ebb and flow."

"For every indicator that looked to be doing a bit better, there seemed to be another one slipping the other way. At least production-wise, there looks to have been enough over the past three months for manufacturing to make a positive contribution to Q4 GDP growth," Steel said in the statement.

Only one of the five sub-indices was in expansion for December, with production, at 52.5, recovering from a decline in November.

However, the other key sub-index of new orders, at 48.9, fell back into contraction, as did finished stocks (48.8) after three months of improving results. Deliveries (49.9) showed no change, and employment (49.1) remained in contraction for the fourth straight month.

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