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Montreal Leads Surprise Gain in Canadian Building Permits

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Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Montreal led a surprise gain in Canadian building permits for June to the second-highest value on record, as the province of Quebec boosted spending on medical and information-technology projects.

Permits in the French-speaking region’s largest city more than doubled to C$1.43 billion ($1.31 billion) from C$596 million in May, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The increase paced a 13.5 percent gain in nationwide permits to C$7.99 billion in a month where economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted a decline of 1.9 percent.

The report is a shift from earlier this year when western Canada had taken the lead in building activity driven by investment by commodity producers and housing. Today’s report showed Quebec’s non-residential permits jumped in June to C$1.40 billion, from C$459 million the month before, exceeding the C$865 million reported in oil-rich Alberta.

Canada’s total permits for non-residential construction rose 32.5 percent to C$3.80 billion, Statistics Canada said. Residential permits rose 0.4 percent to C$4.19 billion.

The value of permits was 20.1 percent higher in June than the same month a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net Chris Fournier

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