OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits issued in February jumped by 15.5 percent on strength in the energy-producing province of Alberta, which had been hit by the oil price slump, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
The increase, which follows a 9.5 percent drop in January, far exceeded the 4.8 percent gain forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. The advance was the greatest since the 16.4 percent recorded in January 2014.
The value of permits issued in Alberta soared 47.7 percent on higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and institutional structures. Permits issued in the province had dropped by 4.4 percent in January.
The strong performance in Alberta was focused on the capital Edmonton and the surrounding region, where permits jumped by 114.0 percent to reach a record high. In Calgary, the center of the oil industry, the value of permits dropped by 8.4 percent.
The overall value of non-residential permits in Canada soared by 33.1 percent, the most in more than three years, on demand for both commercial and institutional buildings.
The value of residential building permits increased by 5.0 percent after a 12.7 percent decrease in January. Single-family dwellings rose by 9.6 percent, breaking a string of six consecutive declines.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum