19 Aug 2019

Today's business news: What you need to know

6:44 pm on 19 August 2019

Latest - The gloom plaguing the manufacturing sector shows no sign of infecting the services sector where activity has reached its highest level since the beginning of the year.

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The BNZ Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index for July shows a reading of 54.7. Photo: creative commons - pixabay -geralt

The BNZ Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index for July shows a reading of 54.7, up 1.7 points on the previous month, and a touch higher than the long-term average.

An index level above 50 indicates the sector is generally expanding.

The numbers are in stark contrast to last week's survey of manufacturing activity, which showed that sector contracting for the first time in seven years.

PFI posts strong half year net profit

Property For Industry says it's had a good first half with strong gains in the value of its property portfolio and above average market rents.

The net profit rose more than half to $46.4 million, which includes valuation gains of more than $23m.

Revenue rose more than a third to $72.4m.

Chief executive Simon Woodhams said the company's full year was tracking to expectations, with strong demand for industrial property.

NZ Steel posts earnings decline

Falling prices have taken their toll on the performance of New Zealand Steel.

The company, along with Pacific Steel, is part of the Australian owned Bluescope Steel group.

The local operations have seen their full year earnings fall by 28 percent to $AU81 million.

The company says world steel prices slowed in the second half while costs of raw materials and power rose.

NIB profit down 15 percent

The local operations of Australian health insurer, NIB, have reported a lower underlying profit as the cost of claims outstripped revenue gains.

Premium revenue grew nearly 7 percent to about $230 million.

The underwriting result, which is a measure of the operation's profitability, fell 15 percent to just over $23m.

New Zealand claims increased 9 percent.

Wholesale inflation pressures remain muted.

Official numbers show manufacturers' input prices the prices they pay for raw materials - rose 0.3 percent.

Output prices, the prices businesses charge, rose just half a percentage point.

The main cost pressures were seen in dairy and meat sectors and more generally in food manufacturing.