17 May 2021

Strong economic bounce predicted for second quarter GDP figures

2:43 pm on 17 May 2021

The opening of the trans-Tasman bubble and no lockdowns has seen activity in the services sector soar to record highs last month.

credit card swipe through terminal, spending, consumer confidence, retail, hospitality

Photo: 123rf

The BNZ Business New Zealand Performance of Service Index (PSI) rose 8 points in March to 61.2, which suggests the industry is expanding.

"April is the first month that was purely level 1 restrictions, which would have helped as well, but of course the trans-Tasman bubble initiation would have certainly helped at the margins, even though it kicked in during the latter part of the month," BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said.

The surge in activity was fuelled by strong gains in employment, sales and new orders, however supplier deliveries continued to be a weak point with many firms struggling with disruptions to supply chains.

The supply-side issues would be a constraint on growth, Ebert said.

He said the April result was particularly interesting given that trading in retail services, hospitality and tourism businesses was relatively flat for the month.

"The [sector] really stood out for April was the category called cultural, recreation and personal, and that relates to sporting activities and cultural events.

"It was those big large events which were probably restricted most by the Covid restriction levels in earlier months."

Ebert said the PSI data, combined with other positive economic indicators in recent weeks, including rising job ads and electronic card transactions, suggested there would be a strong economic bounce in the second quarter GDP numbers.

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