Statistics NZ: Chemicals, Plastics Boost Manufacturing Sales in Q3

Chemical and plastic makers led the growth in volume for New Zealand’s manufacturing sales for the third quarter of 2017, according to Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ).

Chemical, polymer, and rubber product manufacturing rose 3.7 per cent during the three-month period, followed by a 2.8 per cent increase in transport equipment, machinery and equipment production. These figures helped in uplifting the overall volume of sales to a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.3 per cent.

Leading industries

The increase in sales volume indicates stability in some segments, despite seven sectors that posted declines in the third quarter. Shot peening and other manufacturing processes will likely become more in-demand among industries that registered higher sales volume.

Sue Chapman, Stats NZ manufacturing manager, said that the increase in chemical and plastics makers’ sales volume reflected a rebound from the June quarter when it declined 8.5 per cent. The volume of manufacturing activity also fell 9.9 per cent in the September quarter compared to the year-ago period. However, total manufacturing values rose 8.6 per cent to $25.25 billion from September 2016.

Manufacturing values

A rebound in dairy prices and higher meat prices has influenced the increase in manufacturing values. Despite a 16 per cent drop in volume, the value of dairy and meat production increased 11 per cent. Finished goods in the transport equipment segment amounted to $72 million, up 2.5 per cent, while chemical and plastics rose 2.6 per cent to $59 million. Tobacco manufacturing values reached $45 million, up 3.1 per cent.

Stats NZ’s latest data led the ASB to revise its GDP growth forecast for the third quarter to 0.5 per cent from 0.4 per cent. Excluding the primary sector, the data reflected a “very strong” reading on manufacturing.

The manufacturing trends in the third quarter of 2017 showed that New Zealand manufacturers have remained positive on the industry prospects, ahead of the recent general elections in November.