Expansion in New Zealand’s services sector dropped back marginally in August, according to the BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index (PSI).
The PSI for August was 54.6, which was 0.2 points down from July (A PSI reading above 50.0 indicates that the service sector is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). The August result was also above the long term average of 54.4 for the survey.
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said that despite the slight dip in expansion levels, the services sector has managed to remain above the long-term average for a second consecutive month.
“As pointed out last month, the jury is still out as to whether the August result for the PSI is the start of a genuine improvement going forward. Given its sister survey the PMI remains in contraction and the average long-term difference in values between the two surveys is 2.4 points, the following months will provide a steer towards whether the gap closes in a positive or negative fashion.
Of the main sub-indexes, production (56.1) decreased 1.2 points, while new orders (56.8) fell 1.6 points.
Looking at comments from respondents, the proportion of positive comments for August (51.8%) improved from July (47.6%) and June (49.0%).
BNZ Senior Economist Craig Ebert said that “we don’t believe the services sector is giving up the ghost. The PSI backs this up. Then again, it is important that this continues, to offset the tough times the manufacturing sector is getting mired in”.