New Zealand's manufacturing sector started the year with its 16th straight month of expansion in January, according to the latest performance of manufacturing index (PMI) out Thursday. The BNZ-Business New Zealand PMI for January was 56.2, which was also the average of the last six months, on a scale where above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 contraction. Business New Zealand executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said the survey drew positive comments from manufacturers regarding growing consumer confidence, further gains in construction and continued high levels of new orders from home and abroad. "In particular, the metal product sector is currently benefiting from the strong residential construction boom, which will no doubt continue for some months to come," Beard said in a statement. Manufacturing by industry sub-groups were mostly in expansion during January, led by metal product manufacturing on 59.3. Petroleum, coal, chemical and associated product manufacturing, on 41.3, dropped sharply in January, mostly because of seasonal factors at play, she said.