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Survey finds eurozone economic growth picking up steam in July despite problems in France

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LONDON — A closely watched survey suggests economic growth in the 18-country eurozone picked up during July despite ongoing concerns over France, the currency bloc's second-largest economy.

Financial information company Markit said Thursday that its purchasing managers' index — a gauge of business activity — rose to a three-month high of 54.0 points in July from 52.8 in June. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

Much of the increase was due to ongoing economic strength in Germany, Europe's biggest economy. However, Markit also found businesses in the "periphery" countries outside of Germany and France expanding at their fastest pace since 2007.

France was the laggard because of its stagnant services sector.

Overall, Markit says the eurozone is growing at a 0.4 percent quarterly tick, which equates to an annualized 1.6 percent rate.

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