France reports largest monthly improvement in business climate as lockdown exit accelerates

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PARIS, June 24 (Xinhua) -- French business managers' confidence in the country's economy improved by 18 points in June from a month earlier, the largest monthly increase since records began in 1980, the national statistics bureau INSEE said on Wednesday.

The business climate composite indicator, compiled from a survey on business managers in the main market sectors -- manufacturing, services, construction, wholesale and retail -- stood at 78 in June, higher than 60 recorded in May, but below its long-term average of 100.

"This sharp rise in the overall synthetic indicator is explained in particular by the more optimistic view that companies have on their activity prospects, in all sectors, under the effect of the lockdown exit," INSEE said.

The employment climate also improved. Its composite indicator gained 13 points to 66, its largest monthly increase since the start of the data in 1991.

France entered national lockdown in mid-March to stem the spread of coronavirus and started to unwind restrictive measures on May 11. From June 15, bars, cafes and restaurants in Ile-de-France were allowed to fully reopen, and European travelers were able to enter French territory without restriction.

The ban on cinemas and casinos' activities was lifted on Monday. Sports events attracting no more than 5,000 people will be allowed from July 11.

Earlier this month, INSEE estimated that the eurozone's second-largest economy would contract by 17 percent in the second quarter this year and by 8 percent for the whole year of 2020 if activities return to the pre-crisis level by July. Enditem

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