Steady business activity in the services sector is expected to be unlikely to last after Auckland’s recent move to alert level 3.
The BNZ-Business NZ Performance of Services Index held steady last month at 54.3 – which is close to the index’s long term average.
A reading above 50 points indicates growth and below contraction.
BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said the July reading was encouraging but he expected the latest Covid-19 restrictions to knock the PSI in the coming months.
“It didn’t accelerate from June but the level it’s at suggests reasonable growth and if you compare it to its long term average its pretty much in line with that. So it’s growing at a historically normal rate which is encouraging.
“But of course these readings were taken before the announcement of the latest alert level restrictions being tightened. So as good as it was I think some of these indices are in for a bit more turbulence going in to August and September.”
The latest data shows the employment index rose to its highest since February at 49.7, but there was some easing in new orders.
Ebert said unlike the latest Performance of Manufacturing Index it was encouraging to see employment was almost steady.
He said the job losses in June had steadied, but the broader issue was what happened to employment in coming months when the wage subsidy scheme came to an end.
The survey also showed that activity in the northern region was lagging well behind the rest of the country, with the South Island regions faring best, and the bottom on the North Island following them.
“You could imagine those more concentrated cities have been struggling more with some of those restrictions than other areas, particularly out in the districts [that are] perhaps more reliant on agriculture and [have] natural physical distancing,” Ebert said.