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Canadian Nonresidential Construction Increases in 4Q

Investment in non-residential building construction in Canada totaled $10.5 billion in the fourth quarter, up 2.0 percent from the third quarter, according to Statistics Canada. It was the third consecutive quarterly increase and largely reflected higher spending on commercial building construction.

Spending on industrial component increased slightly, while investment in the institutional component edged down.

Overall, investment in non-residential building construction increased in eight provinces in the fourth quarter. The largest gain was in Ontario, where both institutional and commercial investment increased. Commercial investment was also up in seven other provinces.

The largest decline was in Alberta, where the main factor was a drop in institutional investment.

Locally, investment in non-residential building construction rose in 20 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increase occurred in Toronto, followed closely by Vancouver, both of which recorded significant increases in institutional and commercial investment.

The largest declines were in Calgary and Montréal, where spending fell in the institutional and commercial components in both cities.

Investors spent $6.1 billon on commercial projects, a 3.6 percent increase from the third quarter and the fourth consecutive quarterly gain. In the eight provinces posting advances, increases were spread among several commercial construction categories.

The largest increase was in Ontario, where investment in the commercial component rose 4.6 percent to $2.5 billion, the result of higher spending on office buildings and laboratory research centers.

Investment in industrial projects totaled $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, edging up 0.4 percent from the previous quarter and 9.4 percent higher than the same quarter of 2009. The increase in the fourth quarter was attributable to higher investment in the construction of utility buildings and manufacturing facilities in seven provinces.

Spending in the institutional component totaled $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter, a 0.3 percent decline from the previous quarter and 2.8 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2009. It was the fourth consecutive quarterly decline nationally. Higher investment in educational institutions, libraries and religious buildings in several provinces was more than offset by lower spending on health care facilities in eight provinces.

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