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NZ services growth slows in March

NZN 18/04/2016 Sophie Boot

Growth in New Zealand's services sector, which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy, eased in March, echoing a slowdown in the pace of manufacturing.

The BNZ-BusinessNZ performance of services index fell 1.9 points to a seasonally adjusted 54.8 last month, the lowest level of expansion since November 2014.

All of the five sub-indices were above the 50 reading that separates contraction from expansion.

"When the data is smoothed, it becomes clear over the last few months that momentum in the PSI has slowed since a high point late last year," BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said.

"Yet it's far from being slow as March is still running above the historical average of 53.9."

The PSI comes after its sister survey, the performance of manufacturing index, showed a second month of slowing industrial production activity leading to a five-month low, while also remaining above its long-term average. The performance of composite index, which combines the two measures, dropped 1.7 points to 54.8 on the GDP-weighted basic, and shed 1.9 points to 55.0 on a free-weighted basis.

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