New Zealand's services sector continued expanding for the sixth consecutive month in April, but the size of the expansion was slightly weaker than in March, the Business NZ/BNZ Performance of Services Index found. Expansion in the month was the strongest April in 3 years. Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said that although the dip in expansion has somewhat taken the gloss off the current result, the fact that the sector has now been expanding for six consecutive months provides a stable platform for continued gains in activity, especially employment. BNZ Head of Research Stephen Toplis said that while the New Zealand economy was now 15 months into its recovery phase, there were still wide variations between different sectors and businesses.
While retail remains subdued and households remain conservative, wholesale trade and export activity – particularly dairy, logging and tourism – are doing well and contributing to economic growth. The expansion so far has only just filled the hole created by the downturn, but with the sixth consecutive month of expansion in the service sector, we remain cautiously optimistic.”