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Construction Materials Prices Remain Stable in November


Overall, construction materials prices fell 0.5 percent in November and are up only 1.1 percent year over year, according to the Department of Labor’s Dec. 13 Producer Price Index. Nonresidential construction materials are down 0.6 percent for the month and are 0.7 percent lower than the same time last year.

“November represented another month of remarkable stability for construction input prices,” said Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Although many investors predicted significant inflation this year due to expansionary monetary policies in much of the developed world, there continues to be a lack of significant inflationary pressures both globally and nationally.”

Overall, the nation’s wholesale goods prices expanded 0.2 percent in November, but are down 0.9 percent year over year.  

“Next year is unlikely to offer as much stability as 2013,” Basu said. “Global economic growth is set to accelerate and the apparent budget deal in Congress should produce greater certainty among businesses, helping improve an already benign national economic forecast. Tension in the Middle East also continues to be a consideration. Together, these factors suggest materials price increases may be at least slightly more rapid in 2014.”

Concrete products prices were flat in November and are up 2.8 percent year over year.

The following materials prices increased in November:

  • Fabricated structural metal products were up 0.1 percent for the month and 0.3 percent year over year.  
  • Softwood lumber prices increased 2.6 percent on a monthly basis and are up 12.8 percent year over year.  
  • Natural gas prices were up 1.9 percent for the month and 3.3 percent on an annual basis.
  • Nonferrous wire and cable prices rose 0.2 percent on a monthly basis and are down 3 percent year over year.
  • Iron and steel prices were up 1.8 percent for the month and are down 0.1 percent compared to the same time last year.
  • Prices for plumbing fixtures and fittings inched up 0.1 percent in November and are up 1.6 percent year over year.  
  • Steel mill products prices increased 0.8 percent in November but are down 0.6 percent compared to the same time last year.  

The following construction inputs experienced price decreases in November:

  • Prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding prices were down 3.8 percent for the month and 0.3 percent year over year.  
  • Crude petroleum prices fell 10.3 percent on a monthly basis but are up 0.9 percent year over year.
  • Crude energy prices decreased 5.7 percent in November but are up 0.6 percent compared to the same time last year.