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Construction Materials Prices Remain Stable in November

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

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“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% in November, but are down 0.9% 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.”

The following materials prices increased in November:

• Fabricated structural metal products were up 0.1% for the month and 0.3% year over year.

• Softwood lumber prices increased 2.6% on a monthly basis and are up 12.8% year over year.

• Natural gas prices were up 1.9% for the month and 3.3% on an annual basis.

• Nonferrous wire and cable prices rose 0.2% on a monthly basis and are down 3% year over year.

• Iron and steel prices were up 1.8% for the month and are down 0.1% compared to the same time last year.

• Prices for plumbing fixtures and fittings inched up 0.1% in November and are up 1.6% year over year.

• Steel mill products prices increased 0.8% in November but are down 0.6% 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% for the month and 0.3% year over year.

• Crude petroleum prices fell 10.3% on a monthly basis but are up 0.9% year over year.

• Crude energy prices decreased 5.7% in November but are up 0.6% compared to the same time last year.

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

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