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French economic activity runs 7% below normal level in July - Bank of France

FILE PHOTO: An employee of an empty duty free shop is pictured in Paris as the country is hit by the new coronavirus, France, January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Economic activity in France ran at 7% below normal levels in July, a slight improvement on June, as the construction sector neared pre-coronavirus crisis levels of activity and industrial capacity usage nudged higher, the Bank of France said.

In its monthly update on business conditions, the central bank said on Monday the euro zone’s second biggest economy contracted 13.8%, in line with its forecast.

“The rebound continued in July, at a more moderate rhythm, in line with the trajectory anticipated last month,” the bank said.

In June, economic activity was 9% below normal levels, up from the 32% reduction seen during the first two weeks of lockdown in March.

The positive trend continued just as France and other European governments took new measures to curb a renewed rise in infection rates, desperate to avoid a return to the lockdowns that battered economies globally.

In the manufacturing industry, capacity utilisation in July rose 3 points to 72%.

Manufacturing and service sector activity would be stable in August, the bank projected.

Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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