Continued expansion of the manufacturing sector last month - though at a slower pace than in February - is encouraging, says a bank economist.
The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing index stood at 54.5 in March.
It was down 3.2 points from February's very strong result, but a reading over 50 still indicates the sector is expanding. March's result is the second highest since May last year.
BNZ economist Doug Steel says there are strong signs the improved momentum will be sustained: "Positivity was centred in the production and new orders indices, which is encouraging for output from the manufacturing sector in the coming months".
Mr Steel also said employment levels were also heading in the right direction.