The FINANCIAL -- Canadian building permits surprised on the upside in April, soaring for the second straight month on higher construction intentions in Canada's most populous province, Ontario, according to Nasdaq.
The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities in April rose 11.6% to 7.8 billion Canadian dollars ($6.3 billion), Statistics Canada said on June 8. The increase came on top of March's 13.6% jump, which was revised up from the initially estimated 11.6% gain.
Economists were expecting a 5% drop in building permits in April, according to CIBC World Markets.
"Today's release gives some hope that after investment provided a major drag in the first quarter, there may be reason to believe that things may turn slightly higher in the quarters ahead," the firm said in a note.
The value of permits in the non-residential sector rose 30.2% to C$3.3 billion in April, following a similar gain in March, Statistics Canada said. Three provinces saw increases, led by Ontario, followed by Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador. British Columbia and Quebec registered the biggest declines in construction intentions for non-residential buildings.
The value of permits for institutional buildings almost doubled to C$1.3 billion in April, and reflected higher construction intentions for medical facilities and government buildings.
Construction intentions for residential buildings increased 1.2% overall to C$4.5 billion and included gains in Ontario and Quebec.
The value of single-family dwelling permits rose 6.6% to C$2.5 billion in April, marking the first gain in three months. Five provinces recorded increases, led by Ontario and Alberta.