3/7/2016, 10:56 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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New Zealand: Manufacturing sales rise in last quarter of 2015

Stock markets in New Zealand traded cautiously higher on Tuesday, as investors were sifting through data on manufacturing sales in February.

In Wellington, the S&P/NZX index edged down 0.02% to 6,418 points at 10:53 p.m. CET (10:53 a.m. NZDT).

The New Zealand dollar, better known locally as kiwi, strengthened 0.25% to its major counterpart, the Australian dollar by 10:53 p.m. CET (10:53 a.m. NZDT, 22:50 GMT). The change for the day was visible, as the Australian dollar was stronger during the early morning trade. The Australian dollar was more in demand than the New Zealand's kiwi, as traders widely expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to keep its benchmark interest rate on hold, as opposed to New Zealand's central bank, which is expected to cut its benchmark rate further in 2016.

The Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia Phillip Lowe was expected to speak in Adelaide at 23:20 GMT (9:50 a.m. local time).

Total manufacturing sales rose by a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.3% in the quarter ending in December 2015, after a strong increase of 3.3% in the previous quarter, according to data from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) published on Tuesday local time.

"Petroleum and coal product manufacturing, which can have large movements from quarter to quarter, led the increases in December," business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said. "Meat and dairy manufacturing sales was also up following a large increase in the previous quarter."

The main industry movements: meat and dairy product manufacturing rose 2.5%, but slower than at the pace of 6.0% recorded in the third quarter. Fruit, oil, cereal, and other food manufacturing slid 2.9%. Petroleum and coal product manufacturing rose 11%, but the numbers were not seasonally adjusted.

"The trend for total manufacturing sales volume, which gives a longer-term picture of movements, is rising after a recent flat period," said the SNZ press release.

The actual value of manufacturing sales including price changes was NZ$26.4 billion in the quarter ending in December 2015, up NZ$17 million, or 0.1%, from the comparable quarter a year ago.

Breaking the News / ZR