New Zealand's service sector showed increased levels of
expansion in September, the latest BNZ-BusinessNZ performance
of services index shows.
The national index reading was 55.6 points in September, up
2.3 points from August and consistent with the ''healthy
levels'' of expansion seen this year, BusinessNZ chief
executive Phil O'Reilly said yesterday.
Otago-Southland led the regional indices on 58.2 points, well
up from the 48.5 recorded in September last year and 34.4
recorded in September 2011.
Mr O'Reilly said the ''significant improvement'' from
Otago-Southland was mainly because of a strong increase in
new orders and business.
Northern was the second-highest region with 57.3 points,
followed by Canterbury on 55.6, the same as the national
average, and Central on 51.9.
''Overall, there are a number of factors to show the sector
continues on the right path. The proportion of positive
comments remains healthy at almost 64% in September, while
new orders and business also remains strong.
''With the same nine months in 2011 and 2012 average 52.5 and
53.6 respectively, the 2013 average clearly shows the economy
picking up pace.''
BNZ economist Doug Steel said the September index results
were more important than they looked. A series of softer
spots appearing in August had gone, keeping intact the firmly
positive underlying growth trends seen in the service sector
in the past year.
The service sector includes lawyers, accountants, financial
services, the hospitality sector and tourism.