Confidence slides for Kiwi exporters

Last updated 13:17 06/09/2012

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Confidence among New Zealand exporters has turned negative with a slowdown in orders from Australia adding to weak sentiment from northern hemisphere export markets.

The latest New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA) Survey of Business Conditions for July showed net confidence fell to negative 11, down from the positive 170 net result reported for June.

NZMEA said the survey, completed during August, shows total sales in July 2012 increased 3.2 per cent. Export sales decreased by 0.7 per cent with domestic sales decreasing 5.3 per cent on those reported in July 2011.

The NZMEA survey sample this month covered $504m in annualised sales, with an export content of 47 per cent.

Staff numbers for July decreased year on year by 1.4 per cent.

"There has been another downturn in sales this month," NZMEA chief executive John Walley.

Conditions for exporters were very tough, with the high exchange rate exacerbating weak markets here and overseas.

"Job losses at Solid Energy and the reduction of milk payouts show the impact of these factors on the export sector," Walley said.

"The continuing decline in staff numbers highlights the lack of investment we have seen for about the last seven years."

The situation in world markets had deteriorated right across the board.

"Exchange rates with the United States and Europe are prohibitively high exacerbating poor sales numbers, and orders from the US have slowed as they wait for the result of their election. Demand also seems to be drying up in Australia and China."

However, some respondents reported increased sales and interest from South America, Walley added.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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