The number of new building permits issued in Canada plunged significantly more-than-expected in August, official data showed on Monday. Canadian building permits fell three times more than expected in August, dragged lower by the biggest plunge in planned non-residential construction since 1989.
In a report, Statistic Canada said the number of new building permits issued tumbled by a seasonally adjusted 21.2% in August, compared to expectations for a 7% decline.
July’s figure was revised up to a gain of 21.4% from a previously reported increase of 20.7%.
The total value of building permits fell to CAD6.3 billion in August. With the exception of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, every province registered declines in August with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec posting the largest decreases.
In the non-residential sector, commercial building permits plunged 45.8% in August with declines in office buildings, retail and wholesale outlets, retail complexes and recreational facilities. Permits were lower in eight provinces, led by Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.
Institutional building permits fell 36.7%, the fourth drop in five months, and were down in seven provinces. Ontario accounted for much of the decline from lower planned construction of hospitals and schools.
Permits for industrial buildings were down 1.2% from lower planned construction of factories.
Nationwide, municipalities approved construction of 17,471 new residences in August, a 0.7% drop from the prior month, with single-family homes down 3.4% but multi-family dwellings up 0.8%.
Following the release of the data, the Canadian dollar remained lower against its U.S. counterpart, with USD/CAD rising 0.36% to trade at 1.0334.