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Construction Materials Prices Rise 0.5% in March

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Construction materials prices expanded 0.5% in March and are up 1.1% from March of last year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s April 11 producer price index release. Nonresidential construction materials prices are up 0.4% for the month and are 1% higher than the same time one year ago.

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“Despite the increase in materials prices, this report does not signal a period of much higher inflation,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is true that there were significant increases in overall monthly inflation for both the broader economy and for construction, only a handful of categories were actually associated with a meaningful uptick in prices."

Overall, the nation’s wholesale goods prices fell 0.1% in March but are up 1.7% year over year. Crude energy materials prices fell 6.8% in March but are still 13.6% higher than one year ago, and have expanded by 34.1% through the first three months of 2014.

“With respect to the broader economy, much of the inflation was related to food, which likely is a result of meteorological impacts,” said Basu. “With respect to construction, only three of 11 categories actually experienced increasing prices for the month. Given modest projections for both global and national economic growth, it is unlikely that significant inflationary pressures will be experienced during the month ahead with respect to most construction materials prices.”

The following materials prices increased in March:

• Nonferrous wire and cable prices gained 0.1% in March but are down 2.7% from one year ago.

• Concrete products prices expanded 0.3% in March and are up 3.9% from one year ago.

• Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding expanded by 1.1% for the month and are up 0.1% from one year ago.

Eight of the 11 key construction inputs did not experience price increases for the month.

• Iron and steel prices fell 1.7% in March but are up 1.3% from the same time last year.

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