Activity levels in New Zealand’s services sector during April were almost identical to March, according to the BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index (PSI).
The PSI for April was 51.4 (A PSI reading above 50.0 indicates that the service sector is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). This was down 0.1 points from March, and still below the long-term average of 53.6 for the survey.
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said that while the April result remained in positive territory, the fickle nature of some of the key sub-index values means a consistent trend towards expansion at traditional levels still seems some way off.
“The two key sub-indexes of New Orders/Business (53.6) and Activity/Sales (52.7) both experienced a drop in expansion levels for April. While Employment (51.2) saw its first expansionary result since November 2021, Supplier Deliveries (40.1) remains entrenched in contraction.
Despite a similar overall result to the previous month, the proportion of negative comments increased from 57.5% in March to 61.9% in April.
BNZ Senior Economist Doug Steel said that “for large parts of the service sector that have been through the ringer over recent times, we suspect any result above breakeven would be welcomed. But, on the other hand, April’s result also looks somewhat disappointing in the context of easing COVID restrictions (from Red to Orange) halfway through the month.”