WELLINGTON, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Growth in New Zealand's manufacturing sector rebounded last month, according to figures out Friday, restoring faith that economic growth was still rising.
The latest performance of manufacturing index (PMI) saw manufacturing activity increase in February after a dip in expansion in January.
The BNZ-Business New Zealand PMI for February was 55.2, on a scale where above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction.
It was 3 points higher than January and was the highest level of expansion since September 2016.
Overall, the sector has remained in expansion in almost all months since October 2012.
Business New Zealand executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said it was pleasing to see the sector pick up after January's dip due to mostly seasonal factors.
"While a few respondents continued to outline negative seasonal factors impacting their overall activity levels during February, the 61.7 percent of positive comments received pointed to increased orders, both at a domestic and offshore level," Beard said in a statement.
BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said the bounce in the PMI had averted any apprehensions about its course.
It was also particularly encouraging given the official gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the December 2016 quarter, which were released Thursday.
These showed economic growth at 0.4 percent over the quarter, down from 0.8 percent in the September 2016 quarter.
The PMI had indicated "a decent rebound" in the current quarter's manufacturing GDP, Ebert said in the statement.