New Zealand manufacturing sales fell for a second straight quarter on shrinking volumes of meat and dairy products, tempering expectations for next week's reading of the wider economy.

The volume of manufacturing sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.6 per cent in the three months ended Sept. 30, led by a 6.7 per cent decline in meat and dairy product manufacturing, Statistics New Zealand said.

"Most meat and dairy products in New Zealand are exported and occasionally, the timing of exports, price changes, and exchange rates can affect manufacturing sales," manufacturing statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

It was the second consecutive fall in manufacturing sales volumes and follows the 1.7 per cent fall in the June 2018 quarter.


The manufacturing survey is the final tranche of second-tier data economists use to firm up their forecasts for third-quarter gross domestic product. GDP expanded 1 per cent in the June quarter, accelerating from a 0.5 per cent rise in March. The central bank is tipping growth of 0.7 per cent in the September quarter.

ANZ Bank New Zealand had been tipping a small quarterly rebound in manufacturing sales volumes. Given that didn't eventuate, chief economist Sharon Zollner said "it does represent a downside risk" to ANZ's forecast for a 0.6 per cent expansion in the GDP.

Sales volumes for seven of the 13 industries fell in the September 2018 quarter. The largest decreases were in meat and dairy products while transport equipment, machinery and equipment fell 2.5 per cent. Stats NZ said the only notable increase came from the chemical, polymer, and rubber products industry, up 7 per cent.

"The increase in the chemicals industry rebounded on a fall in the June quarter, when an unscheduled outage at the processing plant restricted methanol production," said Chapman.

The value of manufacturing sales rose 2 per cent, versus a 1.8 per cent increase in June. The chemical, polymer, and rubber products industry recorded its largest value rise in the series, up 9.4 per cent. The value component of manufacturing sales also captures price movements.

Unadjusted sales values rose 7.1 per cent to $26.9 billion in the quarter from the same period a year earlier, while the volume of sales eased 0.3 per cent after lifting 1.7 per cent in the prior quarter.

- BusinessDesk