NZ services sector picks up pace to record September level, led by new orders
New Zealand's services sector, which accounts for almost two-thirds of the economy, accelerated to a record for a September month, led by new orders/business.
The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index rose 2.3 points to 55.6 in September, the highest for that month since the survey began in 2007. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in activity.
All five sub-indexes of the PSI grew last month, with stocks/inventories the only one to weaken, falling 1.7 points to 51.5.
The survey showed a bounce back in Canterbury/Westland to 55.6 following a contraction in August to 42.1 and providing a counterpoint to recent economic data that has suggested the Christchurch rebuild-led region may be losing steam.
The PSI "offers a counterweight to some of the softer tinges creeping into a few economic indicators for
Canterbury over recent months," Bank of New Zealand economist Doug Steel said in a statement.
"This includes a marked slowing in some Canterbury indicators from last week's Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion," he said. "Growth in the region has been so abnormal over the past few years that the odd pause for breath should not come as any great surprise."
Among other regions, Northern accelerated by 1.8 points to 57.3 while Otago/Southland rebounded to 58.2.
New orders jumped 6.2 points to 61.1 and activity/sales edged up 0.9 points to 55.9. Supplier deliveries rose 0.7 points to 53.5 and employment edged up to 51.2 from about 50.
The combined manufacturing and services index, the BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of composite index rose 1.2 points to 55.2 on a GDP-weighted basis, and was unchanged at 55.4.