New Zealand’s manufacturing sector ended last year on a strong note, easing concerns of a slowdown.
Radio New Zealand reported that the BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) rose 1.4 points to 55.1 in December from the month before.
It was the PMI's highest level since last April.
Four of the index's components increased, notably production, deliveries and stocks.
BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert told Radio NZ the sector had been gradually improving after a mid-year weak spot and the strength in new orders was pleasing.
“This helps allay concerns - of weakening demand,” he said.
However, Ebert that a business survey released early last week showed manufacturers were the most pessimistic, with concerns about a possible slowdown and concerns that rising costs will eat into their profits.
“NZIER's Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) registered a tone of struggle regarding manufacturing output over the prior three months. So, there are still elements of caution there,” Ebert said.
Radio NZ said also last week two surveys showed strong confidence in the labour market and a pick-up in business sentiment.