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OTTAWA, March 8 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits issued in January dropped by 9.8 percent from December, the second sharp retreat in three months, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.
The fall exceeded the 2.5 percent decline forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. Statscan revised December's gain down to 7.7 percent from an initial 11.3 percent and November's drop to 12.1 percent from 19.9 percent.
A 21.0 percent decrease in construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, concentrated in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, was the main reason for the weaker performance in January.
Overall, the value of residential permits sank by 12.5 percent from December. Non-residential building permits dropped by 4.8 percent on lower construction intentions for educational institutions, nursing homes and other government buildings.
The overall value of permits issued in the energy-producing province of Alberta, hit hard by slumping crude prices, fell by 5.3 percent in January after gaining 3.9 percent in December.
Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by W Simon