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Economic Survey of Manufacturing: March 2017 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  07 June 2017
Commentary

All references to sales movements are seasonally adjusted against the previous quarter, unless otherwise stated.

See DataInfo+ for more information about seasonal adjustment.

Manufacturing sales volume falls

The volume of manufacturing sales fell 0.3 percent in the March 2017 quarter, after a 2.0 percent fall in the December 2016 quarter. Of the 13 manufacturing industries, seven rose and five fell, while beverage and tobacco product manufacturing remained unchanged in the latest quarter.

The main movements this quarter were:

  • meat and dairy product manufacturing, down 7.8 percent
  • petroleum and coal product manufacturing, up 5.7 percent  
  • chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing, up 7.0 percent.  

The trend for the manufacturing sales volume, which gives a longer-term picture of movements, has been mainly rising since mid-2013 but now appears to be easing.

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

Graph, Total manufacturing sales, Volumes, Quarterly, From March 2010 to March 2017

In current prices, the value of manufacturing sales rose 2.8 percent ($707 million) in the March 2017 quarter. This follows a 1.3 percent rise in the December quarter.

The main value movements this quarter were:

  • chemical, polymer and rubber manufacturing, up 9.8 percent ($223 million)
  • petroleum and coal product manufacturing, up 9.7 percent ($194 million).

Graph, Change in seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales, Values and volumes, From December 2016 quarter to March 2017 quarter

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was 1.6 percent higher than in the March 2016 quarter.

 Graph, Change in manufacturing stocks, Values and volumes, From March 2016 quarter to March 2017 quarter

Excluding meat and dairy, sales volume rises

The volume of manufacturing sales, excluding meat and dairy products, rose 1.7 percent in the March 2017 quarter. This follows a 0.8 percent fall in the December 2016 quarter.

Seven of the 12 industries in this group had higher sales in the March 2017 quarter. The main movements this quarter were:

  • petroleum and coal product manufacturing, up 5.7 percent  
  • chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing up, 7.0 percent.  

The trend for the sales volume has been rising since early 2013.

Graph, Manufacturing sales excluding mean and dairy product manufacturing, Volumes, Quarterly, From March 2010 to March 2017

In current prices, when we exclude meat and dairy products, the sales value rose 3.5 percent ($620 million) in the March 2017 quarter. This follows a 0.7 percent rise in the December 2016 quarter. 

The volume of finished goods stocks, when we exclude meat and dairy products (which is not seasonally adjusted), was 0.9 percent higher than in the March 2016 quarter.

Meat and dairy products sales volume falls, while value rises

The volume of sales for the meat and dairy product manufacturing industry fell 7.8 percent in the March 2017 quarter. This follows a 6.3 percent fall in the December 2016 quarter.

Overseas Trade Indexes (provisional) reported an 11.2 percent fall in the dairy export volume in the March 2017 quarter, while the meat export volume rose 3.2 percent. This follows an 8.5 percent fall and 0.2 percent rise for dairy and meat respectively, in the December 2016 quarter.

The trend for the volume of meat and dairy product manufacturing sales has been mainly rising since early 2015, but now appears to be falling.

Graph, Meat and dairy product manufacturing sales, Volumes, Quarterly, From March 2010 to March 2017

In current prices, the sales value for meat and dairy products rose 1.1 percent ($77 million) for the March 2017 quarter. This follows a 4.6 percent rise in the December quarter.

Overseas Trade Indexes (provisional) reported a 1.2 percent rise in dairy export values. Prices for meat export values rose 11.3 percent. This follows rises of 9.5 percent and 0.9 percent for dairy and meat, respectively, in the December 2016 quarter.

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was 2.5 percent higher than in the March 2016 quarter.

Petroleum and coal product manufacturing sales volumes and values rise

The volume of sales for the petroleum and coal product manufacturing industry rose 5.7 percent in the March 2017 quarter. This follows rises over the previous two quarters.

The series is not seasonally adjusted as it does not have a stable seasonal pattern. It is not unusual for this industry to show large movements from quarter to quarter.

The sales value rose 9.7 percent ($194 million), following similar rises over the previous two quarters.

The trend for the volume of petroleum and coal product manufacturing sales has been rising in recent quarters, since a fall in the previous June 2016 quarter. 

Graph, Petroleum and coal product manufacturing sales, Volumes, Quarterly, From March 2010 to March 2017

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was 7.4 percent higher than in the March 2016 quarter.

Chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing sales volumes and values rise

The volume of sales for the chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing industry rose 7.0 percent in the March 2017 quarter. This follows rises over the previous three quarters.

The sales value rose 9.8 percent ($223 million), following rises over the past three quarters.

The trend for the volume of chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing sales has been rising in recent quarters, since a fall in the March 2016 quarter.

Graph, Chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing sales, Volumes, Quarterly, From March 2010 to March 2017

The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was 5.3 percent lower than in the March 2016 quarter.

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

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