New Zealand’s manufacturing sector experienced a further slowdown in August, with BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index falling slightly from 46.6 in July to 46.1. This marks the lowest rate of activity for a non-pandemic affected month since June 2009. Furthermore, the latest PMI data sits significantly below its long-term average of 52.9.
A closer look at the August data reveals: Production observed a modest increase, moving from 43.1 to 43.9. Employment metrics improved, rising from 44.8 to 47.7. New orders experienced a minor uptick, growing from 45.5 to 46.6. Finished stock levels retreated slightly from 52.7 to 52.1. Deliveries, however, showed more promise, escalating from 42.9 to 47.7.
Despite the grim headline figure, it is noteworthy that there was a slight decrease in the proportion of negative comments, standing at 66.7%, a marginal relief compared to July’s 72%. However, the level of pessimism mirrored that of May, maintaining the same rate of 66.7%. The pervasive market uncertainty stemming both from domestic and offshore influences, coupled with rising costs and weather-impacted demand, continued to be highlighted as primary drivers for the negative sentiment pervading the industry.
BNZ Senior Economist Craig Ebert expressed concern over the PMI’s latest results, noting that while the headline figure had seen much lower points during previous recessions, the composition of August figures brought little consolation. Ebert pinpointed new orders and production as substantial drags on the performance, trailing behind the standard levels by 8.0 and 9.5 points respectively.