Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aggregates prices rise

According to Reed Construction Data, the Construction Materials Price Index fell 0.6 percent in February extending the decline since the September peak to 9.1 percent. The spike in prices earlier in 2008 has now been more than reversed. The index stands at only 0.5 percent higher than a year ago. The price index is expected to decline slowly for a few more months but rise modestly by the end of the year and rise higher next year, perhaps up 4-5 percent from the 2009 average.

The Construction Sand, Gravel and Crushed Stone price index actually rose, gaining 0.9 percent month over month, 2.3 percent over a three-month period, 6.3 percent over the past year and a whopping 24.3 percent over the past three years. Cement prices declined 1.1 percent after very little price decline over the past year. But this is not yet reflected in concrete products prices which generally rose slightly.

February’s price drop was lead by steel products. Structural steel prices fell 2.9 percent with similar drops for steel pipe and builders’ hardware and a smaller decline for metal plumbing fixtures. Nonferrous price changes were missed in February. Extruded aluminum prices fell 3.2 percent but copper pipe and tube prices jumped 5.8 percent as copper ore and scrap prices both increased sharply. The countercyclical move in copper prices is supply driven and likely short term. -- Mark S. Kuhar

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