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GST Sales Up

Business Activity (GST) Indicator - March quarter

Seasonally adjusted GST sales have increased for the five months to March 1999 after a slight dip in October 1998 monthly sales. The trend in GST sales is now increasing after declining in the first half of 1998. Seasonally adjusted net GST sales (sales less purchases) also increased for the three months of the quarter.

Sales increased 2.3 per cent in March 1999, following a 2.5 per cent increase in sales in February and a 1.4 per cent increase in January. Actual sales in March 1999 were more than $30.2 billion dollars, the highest level recorded in the series and 9.1 per cent higher than the result this time last year. Most industrial divisions showed growth over the three months, however, seasonally adjusted government administration and defence sales fell in January and February 1999.

Some of the strongest growth was in finance and business services revenues. Traditional business services industries which have shown steady growth, such as legal, accounting, insurance, marketing and business services, were joined by commercial property operators and developers, real estate agents and the computer services industry.

This is the fourth release of the experimental Business Activity Indicator, a new monthly series of economic statistics based on GST data supplied by the Inland Revenue Department. During the experimental series phase, further releases of the indicator are planned around the time of the quarterly Gross Domestic Product release. Previous periods will be subject to revision as improvements are made to the methodology and more is learnt about the base data.

Len Cook

GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

5 July 1999

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