The number of building permits issues in the U.S. rose significantly more than expected in July, while housing starts also blew past forecasts, official data showed Tuesday.

In a report, the U.S. Commerce Department said that the number of building permits issued last month jumped by 8.1% to a seasonally adjusted 1.052 million units from June’s total of 973,000.

Analysts expected building permits to rise by 2.5% to 1.0 million units in July.

The report also showed that U.S. housing starts soared by 15.7% last month to hit a seasonally adjusted 1.093 million units from June’s total of 945,000, beating expectations for an increase of 8.6% to 969,000 units.

Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar added to gains against the euro, with EUR/USD shedding 0.14% to trade at 1.3344, compared to 1.3355 ahead of the data.

Meanwhile, the outlook for U.S. equity markets was higher. The Dow pointed to a gain of 0.25% at the open, the S&P 500 indicated a rise of 0.25%, while the Nasdaq 100 signaled an increase of 0.15%.

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