Biz briefs: Services sector inches up

Last updated 11:54 14/07/2014

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The services sector inched up in June after falling in May, but the sector is growing at a slower pace than it was earlier in the year.

The BNZ - BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index (PSI) was 54.7 in June, up 0.6 points from May. 

A number above 50 indicates the sector is expanding and below 50 that it is going backwards.

The index remained under 55, compared with recent levels of 56 to 58 points in the past year.  In the past year there had been some soft months, but typically followed by a strong bounce.

 That did not happen in June after the slowdown in May.

"This is no cause for alarm," BNZ said.

Even though the PSI has been a bit lower over the past couple of months, it remained above its long term average.

The index has posted its 18th consecutive above-average monthly result. "Slower - but not slow - service sector expansion over the past couple of months in other words," BNZ said.

The index has averaged 56.1 points so far this year. BNZ economists said the PSI has been a touch softer over recent months but remained above average and consistent with "ongoing optimism" in the service sector. 

In June, new orders/business saw another slip in expansion levels. But the other main sub-indexes all improved in the month.

The proportion of positive comments rose in June to 62.1 per cent, with comments about market growth, new customers and favourable seasonal patterns, Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said.

BNZ said that many economic indicators had been going "gangbusters" in the past year, pointing to strong growth. More recently some signs pointed to the economy cooling down, but indicator levels remained above average.

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