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Economic Survey of Manufacturing: December 2011 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  08 March 2012
Commentary

All references to sales movements are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated.

    Manufacturing up 1.3 percent

    The volume of manufacturing sales rose 1.3 percent in the December 2011 quarter, following two quarters of falls. The latest rise was driven by increases of 3.2 percent in the meat and dairy industry and 10.4 percent in the petroleum and coal industry.

    The increase in the meat and dairy industry reflects a 6.3 percent increase in the volume of dairy exports.

    The petroleum and coal series is not seasonally adjusted as the series does not exhibit a stable seasonal pattern. It is not unusual to observe significant movements in this industry.

    Volumes are calculated by removing the effect of price changes from sales values.

     

     Graph, Total manufacturing sales,current and constant dollars, quarterly, December 2004 to December 2011.

    The trend for the manufacturing sales volume, which gives a longer-term picture of movements, indicates manufacturing volumes have been fluctuating around the same level for nearly three years.

    In current prices, values rose $271 million in the December 2011 quarter.

    The main contributors were:

    • meat and dairy product manufacturing (up $297 million)
    • petroleum and coal product manufacturing (up $167 million).

    These rises were partly offset by:

    • transport equipment, machinery, and equipment manufacturing (down $105 million)
    • beverage and tobacco product manufacturing (down $61 million). 

     

      Graph, Changes in seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, September 2011 quarter to December 2011 quarter.

     Graph, Seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, December 2011 quarter.

    The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was 5.7 percent ($561 million) higher in the December 2011 quarter than in the December 2010 quarter. This was mainly due to the increase in the volume of stock for the meat and dairy product manufacturing industry, which was up 9.0 percent ($396 million).   

    Graph, Changes in manufacturing stocks, current and constant dollars, December 2010 quarter to December 2011 quarter.

    Excluding meat and dairy products, manufacturing falls 0.7 percent

    The volume of sales, excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing, fell 0.7 percent ($112 million) in the December 2011 quarter, the second consecutive fall. Seven of the 12 industries that make up this grouping recorded falls.

    The industries that recorded the greatest falls were:

    •  transport equipment, machinery, and equipment manufacturing, down 4.7 percent ($115 million) 
    •  beverage and tobacco products, down 5.6 percent ($64 million).

    Graph, Manufacturing sales excluding meat and dairy product manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, quarterly, December 2004 to December 2011.

    In current prices, values increased 0.1 percent in the December 2011 quarter. This follows a fall of 1.0 percent in the September 2011 quarter, the first decrease since June 2010.

    The trend for the sales volume has generally been flat for the latest three years.

    The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was up 3.0 percent in the December 2011 quarter compared with the December 2010 quarter.

    Meat and dairy product manufacturing up 3.2 percent

    The volume of sales for the meat and dairy product manufacturing industry rose 3.2 percent in the December 2011 quarter, following falls of 1.6 percent for each of the previous two quarters. This reflects an increase of 6.3 percent in the volume of dairy products exported in the December 2011 quarter. Dairy product exports were at their highest level since the series began in June 1990.

    The value of sales rose 4.2 percent to $7.4 billion for the quarter.

    The trend indicates that the volume of meat and dairy product manufacturing may be rising after two quarters of decline. This may change as future data points become available.

    Graph, Meat and dairy product manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, quarterly, December 2004 to December 2011.

    The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) was 9.0 percent higher than in the December 2010 quarter.

    Petroleum and coal product manufacturing increases 10.4 percent

    The volume of sales for the petroleum and coal product manufacturing industry rose 10.4 percent ($164 million) in the December 2011 quarter, following falls in the three previous quarters. The petroleum and coal series is not seasonally adjusted as it does not exhibit a stable seasonal pattern. It is not unusual for this industry to exhibit significant movements from quarter to quarter.

    The sales value also rose, up 8.8 percent ($167 million).  

    The trend indicates that the sales volume for the petroleum and coal product manufacturing industry is increasing.

     Graph, Petroleum and coal product manufacturing sales, current and constant dollars, quarterly, December 2004 to December 2011

    The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) decreased 16.8 percent in the December 2011 quarter compared with the December 2010 quarter. Stocks have generally been falling since a high point in June 2009.

    Transport equipment, machinery, and equipment manufacturing falls 4.7 percent

    The volume of sales for the transport equipment, machinery and equipment manufacturing industry fell 4.7 percent ($115 million) in the December 2011 quarter, following falls in the two previous quarters.

    The sales value also fell, down 4.3 percent ($105 million).  

    The trend indicates that the sales volume for the transport equipment, machinery, and equipment manufacturing industry has generally been rising for the two years up to June 2011. The latest two quarters indicate the trend may be falling.

     Graph, Transport equipment, machinery, and equipment manufacturing sales, current and constant price dollars, quarterly, December 2004 to December 2011.

    The volume of finished goods stocks (which is not seasonally adjusted) increased 14.7 percent in the December 2011 quarter compared with the December 2010 quarter.

    For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

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