Philly Fed factory activity falls in July

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region contracted for the 10th consecutive month in July, a survey showed on Thursday, posting a worse than expected decline.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index was at minus 7.5 in July versus minus 2.2 in June.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of minus 5.0. Their 51 forecasts ranged from minus 10.8 to positive 3.0.

Any reading below zero indicates contraction in the region’s manufacturing sector.

The survey covers factories in a region encompassing eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware and is looked at closely as one of the first indicators of the health of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Reporting by Burton Frierson; Editing by Theodore d’Afflisio