Service sector growth slows

Last updated 12:26 20/08/2012
BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly
BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly.

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The service sector is still expanding, but the pace is slowing from a trot to a jog, with slow sales in difficult business conditions.

For the second month in a row expansion levels for the services sector dipped, though the level still suggests moderate growth is expected.

The BNZ-BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index, PSI, was 53.1 in July, down 0.8 points from June. It fell 2.5 points in the previous month.

A figure above 50 indicates the sector is expanding, and below 50 that it is contracting.

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the chipping away of expansion in the service sector was shown in a rise in the number of negative comments from those surveyed- to the point where they were at similar levels to positive comments.

"Either a slowness or lack of sales (or) orders is top of mind for many finding business conditions difficult at present. For those finding activity positive, a much broader range of comments is evident, although there is little in the way of common themes to indicate improved activity in the months ahead.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said that the lack of common themes in either PSI respondent comments or in the PSI data was in keeping with other economic data of late.

"It has been all over the show. For every indicator pointing one way there seems to be another one pointing in another direction. At least, on average, the indicators point to moderate growth ahead."

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