Otago service industry confidence tops

The Otago and Southland regional economies continue to show good activity with the region leading the pack when it comes to service industry activity.

The BNZ-BusinessNZ Performance of Service Index had Otago-Southland on 58.8 points, just ahead of Business Central on 58, the Northern EMA on 57.7 and Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce on 51.7.

The New Zealand seasonally adjusted reading was 56, down 1.2 points but still expanding. A reading above 50 indicates expansion and a reading below, contraction.

Otago-Southland Employers Association chief executive Virginia Nicholls said the 58.8 reading was consistent with the average for the past year.

In July, the region recorded 57.4 points, in August 55.8 and September 58.8.

Last week, Otago-Southland was the second best performing manufacturing region in the country.

Mrs Nicholls said the regional breakdown in categories were all positive. Orders/new business and activity/sales levels were 62.5, employment levels and suppler deliveries were 56.3 and stocks/inventories were 50.

In the tourism sector, the weather disrupted some businesses. Overall, there was a positive end to the ski season.

``There is an early start to the summer season for major tourism operators, particularly in regional areas such as Manapouri and Te Anau.''

Supermarkets had another good month and services supplying the construction industry had another steady month, she said.

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel said just like the Performance in Manufacturing Index, of the respondents citing the major factor on their businesses as being a negative one, about a quarter noted the election.

The election coincided with a dip in the proportion of positive comments in September to 56.6% from 66.9% in August.

Recent official figures revealed service sector GDP growth averaged an annual pace of 3.2% in the first half of 2017, above its five-year average of 2.8%


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