The Performance in Services index result for November
reflected an economy that was continuing to struggle but,
despite the difficulties, continued to make slow progress.
The BNZ-BusinessNZ index showed a national seasonally
adjusted reading of 54.1 points, down from the 59 points
recorded in November last year.
Otago-Southland led the regional results with a reading of
61.7 points, up from 60.8 at the same time last year.
Northern was 61, central was 55 and Canterbury was 43.3
points, a surprising slump from the 56.7 recorded last year.
BNZ head of research Stephen Toplis expected 2012's theme of
slow progress, despite continuing struggles, to continue into
''New Zealand's economic outlook for calendar 2013 is
unspectacular. But against a global backdrop of significant
distress, this is not a bad place to be.''
Otago-Southland Employers Association chief executive John
Scandrett said the Otago-Southland result, which built
positively on the October result, provided a clear signal
that regional pre-Christmas activity levels were tracking in
a positive fashion.
All the subindices levels had delivered expansionary results.
In particular, sales, new business and stock-level elements
were in a solid state.
''Again we see a mixed bag of survey comments and, while
there is positive feedback across construction,
painting/decorating and property services subsectors,
selected tourism and wholesale operators are unhappy with the
business outcomes they have seen,'' he said.
Nationally, comments from respondents reflected a distinct
difference between those who had seen activity expand and
those who had not.
In November, 65% of comments were positive, compared with 62%
in October and 47% in September.
While the increase was ''obviously good news'', the positive
comments received were more specific as to why they were more
optimistic, such as better weather conditions, detailed
Christmas prospects or certain tourist opportunities, Mr
Scandrett said. In contrast, those still struggling were
often more general in their comments, a lack of customers and
orders being the primary concern.