WRAPUP 1-Canada building permits soar, residential sector hits record
* Jan building permits rise by 8.5 pct
* Permits for residential dwellings hits record C$4.60 bln
* Ivey Purchasing Managers Index rises to 57.2 in Feb
By David Ljunggren and Leah Schnurr
OTTAWA/TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - The value of building permits issued in Canada surged in January, while the pace of purchasing activity unexpectedly picked up last month, suggesting some of the impact of unusually harsh winter weather may be dissipating in Canada.
Building permits jumped by 8.5 percent at the beginning of the year, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday, handily surpassing expectations for a 1 percent increase.
That marked a sharp rebound from December's revised drop of 4.8 percent, which analysts thought had been the result of winter storms that hit parts of Canada at the end of last year.
"(I was) surprised by the underlying strength, particularly given we thought there would be a bit of a weather effect and generally assuming we're going to see some moderation of housing activity," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto.
Extreme winter weather has also impacted data south of the border, pointing to softer economic activity in the United States that economists expect will be transitory. Continued...