Local services sector contracts

The Australian services sector contracted in March, a new survey shows.

The Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank’s Australian Performance of Services Index (PSI) was 47 points in March. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity.

The report shows soft trading conditions were widespread across the services sector, with only two of the nine sub-sectors reporting an expansion in activity.

Finance and insurance services rose strongly, while personal and recreational services also increased.

Activity fell sharply in property/business services and the accommodation/meal service sub-sectors. The transport and storage sub-sectors also fell.

Australian Industry Group chief executive designate Innes Willox said large parts of the Australian economy were struggling to gain momentum.

“The high (Australian) dollar is thwarting the prospects for trade-exposed service businesses and a lack of confidence among households is holding back the retail sector and service businesses,” Willox told Business Spectator.

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