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Economic Survey of Manufacturing: March 2013 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  10 June 2013
Commentary

All references to sales movements are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated.

See data quality for more information about seasonal adjustment. 

Manufacturing sales volume falls

The volume of manufacturing sales fell 0.6 percent in the March 2013 quarter, after a 1.4 percent rise in the December 2012 quarter. The fall follows five quarters of increases and occurred despite a 0.5 percent increase in the sales volume for meat and dairy product manufacturing. Of the 13 manufacturing industries, six fell. The largest movements this quarter were:

  • metal product manufacturing, down 6.2 percent 
  • transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing, down 4.2 percent.
  • petroleum and coal product manufacturing, up 5.9 percent. 

The trend for the manufacturing sales volume, which gives a longer-term picture of movements, has been rising since late 2011 but now appears to be flattening.

Volumes are calculated by removing the effect of price changes from sales values.

 Graph, Total manufacturing sales, constant dollars, quarterly, March 2006 to March 2013.

In current prices, the manufacturing sales value rose 0.2 percent ($49 million) in the March 2013 quarter, after a 0.1 percent fall ($16 million) in the December 2012 quarter. The main value movements for this quarter were:

  • metal product manufacturing, down 4.9 percent ($113 million)
  • meat and dairy product manufacturing, up 1.5 percent ($103 million) 
  • transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing, down 3.2 percent ($76 million).

Graph, Changes in seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, December 2012 quarter to March 2013 quarter.    

 Graph, Seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, March 2013 quarter.

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) is 6.1 percent higher than in the March 2012 quarter. This rise was mainly due to an increase in the volume of meat and dairy product stocks (up 12 percent). See the meat and dairy product manufacturing section in this commentary for more information. 

 Graph, Changes in manufacturing stocks, current and constant dollars, March 2012 quarter to March 2013 quarter.

 

Excluding meat and dairy products, manufacturing volume falls

The volume of sales, excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing, fell 0.8 percent in the March 2013 quarter. This fall follows a rise of 1.1 percent in the December 2012 quarter. Six of the 12 industries that make up this group recorded decreases. The main movements this quarter were:

  • metal product manufacturing, down 6.2 percent 
  • transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing, down 4.2 percent.

In current prices, the sales value also fell, down 0.7 percent ($118 million) in the March 2013 quarter. Six of the 12 industries fell.

 Graph, Manufacturing sales excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing sales, constant dollars, quarterly, March 2006 to March 2013.

The trend for the sales volume has been relatively flat for the last three years and is well below the levels seen before mid-2008.

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) is 1.0 percent higher than in the March 2012 quarter.

Meat and dairy product manufacturing volume rises

The volume of sales for the meat and dairy product manufacturing industry rose 0.5 percent in the March 2013 quarter, after a fall of 1.3 percent in the December 2012 quarter. An increase in meat exports (up 5.3 percent) reflected the rise in sales (see Overseas Trade Indexes (Volumes): March 2013 quarter (provisional)). 

The value of sales also increased, up 1.5 percent ($103 million), after a fall of 4.0 percent in the December 2012 quarter.

Prices varied across the industry during the quarter. Producers Price Index: March 2013 quarter reported a 5.7 percent increase in prices for dairy product manufacturing outputs. In contrast, meat product manufacturing output prices fell 1.4 percent. 

The trend indicates that the volume of meat and dairy product manufacturing has risen over the last year but now appears to be flattening.

 Graph, Meat and dairy product manufacturing sales, constant dollars, quarterly, March 2006 to March 2013.

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) is 12 percent higher than in the March 2012 quarter.

Drought conditions prevailed across the North Island and parts of the South Island during the March 2013 quarter. As a result, higher sheep slaughter numbers were noted in Producers Price Index: March 2013 quarter.

Metal product manufacturing volume falls

The volume of sales for the metal product manufacturing industry fell 6.2 percent in the March 2013 quarter, after a 5.6 percent rise in the December 2012 quarter.

The sales value also fell, down 4.9 percent ($113 million). Export values of aluminium and aluminium articles were down 13 percent (unadjusted) in the March 2013 quarter compared with the December 2012 quarter as reported in Overseas Merchandise Trade: March 2013

The trend for the sales volume has fallen over the last year, down 7.8 percent since March 2012.

 Graph, Metal product manufacturing sales, constant dollars, quarterly, March 2006 to March 2013.

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) is 1.1 percent lower than in the March 2012 quarter.

Transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing volume falls

The volume of sales for the transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing industry fell 4.2 percent in the March 2013 quarter. This decrease follows falls in the previous two quarters and was spread across the industry.  

The sales value also fell, down 3.2 percent ($76 million).  

The trend indicates that the sales volume for the transport equipment; machinery and equipment manufacturing industry has been fluctuating since early 2011. 

Graph, Transport equipment, machinery and equipment manufacturing sales, constant dollars, quarterly, March 2006 to March 2013.

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) is 3.7 percent lower than in the March 2012 quarter.

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box. 

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