Manufacturing accelerated last month in its fourth monthly increase after a mid-year lull, and a pick-up in agricultural production stoked activity in the food and beverage sector.
The BNZ-Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index rose 1.1 points to 58.1 in September, and was up from 53.7 in the same month a year earlier.
The index was at its highest since March, and has been above 50, which indicates the sector is expanding, for 25 months.
Bank of New Zealand senior economist Craig Ebert said manufacturing activity was expected to rebound in the third quarter after a technical blip in agricultural processing in the second quarter.
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The index showed all five of the sub-indices were in expansion in September, led by deliveries at 62.4, its highest since July last year, and new orders at 60. Production fell 1 point to 59.3, and finished stocks were at a record 58.1. Employment rose 2 points to 56.
Food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing showed the strongest expansion at 70.9. Footwear and leather manufacturing was at 59.9, and petroleum, coal, chemical and associated products at 59.3.
Machinery and equipment manufacturing was at 50.8 and metal product manufacturing at 50.6.