New Zealand’s services sector returned to expansion levels experienced in recent months, according to the BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index (PSI).
The PSI for February was 53.8, which was 2.4 points down from January (A PSI reading above 50.0 indicates that the service sector is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). The February result was also below the long term average of 54.5 for the survey.
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said despite the January result getting 2019 off to a solid footing, the February result meant the survey fell back in line with recent expansion levels.
“While four of the five main sub-indexes showed similar results to the previous months, the key sub-index of activity/sales (53.4) decreased 8.1 points. Also, supplier deliveries (49.9) dipped into contraction for February.
The decrease in overall activity levels also saw the proportion of positive comments in February (52.4%) also dip slightly, compared with January (54.0%) and December (54.4%). A number of negative comments focussed on uncertainty in the market, along with slow demand. However, a number of positive comments outlined new business and strong demand for certain services”.
BNZ Senior Economist Doug Steel said “The PSI has shown little direction over the past six months, but overall indicates positive economic growth albeit a bit slower than was prevailing a year ago”.