Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian building permits set a record high in August, an unexpected increase led by non-residential projects.
The value of municipal permits rose 7.9 percent to C$7.35 billion ($7.49 billion), following a revised 2.8 percent decline in July, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists forecast a 1.3 percent decline according to the median of 10 responses to a Bloomberg survey.
The Bank of Canada has kept its overnight interest rate at 1 percent since September 2010 to encourage borrowing and spending and said business investment and consumption will help lead growth over the next year.
Permits for non-residential construction jumped 25.2 percent to C$3.17 billion, with work on institutional buildings including schools and hospitals gaining 158 percent to C$1.05 billion.
Industrial permits rose 26.2 percent to C$638 million, and commercial projects such as offices fell 8.5 percent to C$1.48 billion.
Residential permits fell 2.3 percent to C$4.18 billion.
The value of permits was 22 percent higher in August than the same month a year earlier.
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at email@example.com