15 Apr 2013

Services sector still robust

11:33 am on 15 April 2013

Activity in the services sector has edged down, but remains robust.

The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performances of Services Index rose declined a tenth of a point to 55.4 last month, the highest March recorded in three years.

A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding.

New orders led the way, followed by sales, while employment had its strongest showing since April last year.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the rebuilding of Christchurch and Auckland's surging property market have underpinned activity.

Given the pick up in momentum in the economy overall, he said services activity is expected to remain robust, though he warned there are question marks about the sustainability of a recent upswing in the housing market.

The composite index, which measures activity in the manufacturing and services sectors, eased slightly, but BNZ said the last three months have shown a level of consistent expansion not seen since early 2010.