14 Jul 2014

Service sector remains optimistic

2:26 pm on 14 July 2014

The services sector continued to expand in June, though business growth has slowed somewhat.

The Bank of New Zealand-Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index rose to 54.7 points in June, a slight increase over May.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion and the PSI has averaged 56.1 points so far this year.

New orders fell 2 points in June to 58.3, while sales rose just over half a point to 54.7 after falling back slightly in May. Employment also picked up.

Inventories rose 1.9 points to 55.2. Supplier deliveries rose to 53.5, following a slight contraction in May.

The services sector accounts for between two-thirds and three-quarters of the economy.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said the latest survey results may point to a cooling in the economy.

But he said there was no cause for alarm as the index remained above its long-term average.

"Looking across the major indicators - they're all above their average level, suggesting that the likes of employment, or activity in sales, are still growing - and growing a little bit quicker than normal."

He said the underlying trends were still positive though there had been a slowdown since the beginning of the year and new orders had dropped a little in the past few months.

Mr Steel said other surveys of the service sector showed confidence was still strong with employment intentions "still very elevated".

"They anticipate more sales ahead."