By Rebecca Howard
July 15 (BusinessDesk) - Activity in New Zealand's services sector softened in June, adding to a picture of lacklustre economic growth.
The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index fell 0.8 of a point in June from May to a seasonally adjusted 52.7. That was 0.3 of a point lower than a year earlier and remains below the long-term average of 54.4. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said the reading was “symptomatic of a lacklustre first half of 2019 for the sector.”
Hope said that while the index “has yet to get very close to the no change mark of 50, nor has it shown any signs of building momentum to pick up pace.”
The stock/inventories sub-index fell 3.6 points to 53.3 while the new orders and business eased 1 point to 54.8.
The activity/sales measure was down 0.2 of a point at 54.7, while employment rose 0.3 of a point to 50.9. The supplier deliveries measure fell 2 points to 49.4.
The PSI's sister survey, the performance of manufacturing index, was released on Friday and showed a slight recovery on the back of new orders, up 0.9 points to a seasonally adjusted 51.3 from May. BNZ described the activity as below par.
“Combined, the PSI and PMI indicate annual GDP growth will struggle to stay above 2 percent this year, with something closer to 1 percent looking more likely,” said Bank of New Zealand economist Craig Ebert.
Combining the two surveys, the composite index fell 0.7 of a point from May to 52.4 on a GDP-weighted basis. On a free-weighted basis, the measure rose 0.4 of a point to 52.4.