15 Feb 2010

Pace of growth in services sector slows

12:59 pm on 15 February 2010

The services sector is continuing to expand, though the pace of growth has slowed for the third successive month.

The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performances of Services Index fell 1.3 points to 53.1 in January, with sales, new orders and employment intentions all rising.

A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding.

BNZ Capital senior economist Craig Ebert says discounting helped boost sales and cut stock levels, but the sector is also affected by firms' shutting down for holidays.

Mr Ebert says the future direction of the cooling housing market will be an important factor for the services sector, as it helps drive consumer spending.