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The National Bank of Belgium's business barometer rose again slightly in July, on the heels of a sharp increase in June. The business climate has shown divergent trends among the branches of activity surveyed. For instance, the indicator has picked up again in the building industry and the third consecutive improvement was recorded in business-related services. On the other hand, after a big improvement last month, the business situation deteriorated slightly in the manufacturing industry. Retailers also appeared to be more pessimistic, like last month. All the components of the indicator have firmed up in the building industry and especially those relating to changes on the previous month in terms of both order books or use of equipment. In contrast to last month, the improvement in the business-related services sector is based exclusively on an upward revision of forecasts, for firms' own activity as well as for general market demand.
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