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French business confidence firms further in July: INSEE

PARIS (Reuters) - French business confidence gained further ground in July as the economy steadily recovered from the coronavirus crisis, a monthly survey showed on Thursday.

The INSEE official statistics agency said its business climate index rose to 85, from 78 in June, still far from 105 it recorded in February before the outbreak but much better than the record low of 53 reached in April.

The government put France under one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe in mid-March, shuttering vast swathes of the euro zone’s second biggest-economy and plunging it into its worst recession since modern records began in 1948.

Activity has steadily picked up since lockdown restrictions began to be lifted on May 11, although businesses such as hotels relying on foreign tourists continue to suffer severely.

INSEE said its index for the service sector rose to 89, from 78 in June, while the index for industry rose to 82 from 78, short of an average expectation of 85 in a Reuters poll.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Alex Richardson

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