16 Aug 2010

Services sector performance weakens

12:36 pm on 16 August 2010

Activity in the services sector has slowed to a snail's pace but an economist says the sector isn't stalling entirely.

The BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Service Index fell 4.6 points to 50.5 in July.

A reading above 50 shows the sector is expanding, and July's result is the lowest since October.

BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert says the data has been very volatile in recent months and it's difficult to know what's behind the drop.

But he still expects growth to continue at a reasonable pace in the next six to 12 months.

New orders rose for the 15th consecutive month, although the rate of growth has fallen for three out of the past four months.

The services sector was strongest in the northern part of the country, where it is still growing, but overall activity in services firms in all other parts of the country fell in July.