26 Jan 2012

Manufacturing activity bounces back in December

6:10 am on 26 January 2012

Manufacturing activity bounced back sharply in December.

The BNZ Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index rose almost 6 points to 51.9 in December led by employment and new orders.

A reading above 50 shows the sector is expanding.

The result is the highest since August last year.

BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert says it's a relief to see the index return to a positive footing, but the result is hardly strong and might not result in more jobs and hiring just yet.

He says that, on the bright side, new orders have improved and export sales are doing better.

Mr Ebert says the bulk of manufacturing, such as metal, machinery and electronics still goes to Australia and that market has been quite robust and is expected to stay that way.

He says manufacturers exporting to Australia have benefitted from a relatively low exchange rate.