Iron and steel jumped 5.1 percent last month and are 37.7 percent higher than April 2009’s figures.
Construction materials and supplies prices rose 1.1 percent
in April, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Labor Department.
Experts with the Associated Builders and Contractors do not
expect the trend to stop anytime soon. Construction materials prices have
increased for the last six months and are up 5.7 percent compared with the same
period last year, the U.S. government said.
Iron and steel jumped 5.1 percent last month and are 37.7
percent higher than April 2009’s figures. Fabricated structural metal products cost
1.1 percent more in April, but are down 1.5 percent compared with last year.
Energy prices are on the decline, however. Crude energy
prices dropped 5.9 percent in April and natural gas prices dropped 19.2
percent. Over the past three months, crude energy prices are down 10.8 percent
after jumping 24.5 percent in the previous three months.
“Today's producer price index data supports the proposition
that construction materials prices can rise even when the prices of oil and
natural gas are falling,” said Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist
Anirban Basu. “A number of nonfuel related prices continue to edge higher in
April, most notably iron and steel. This seems to be a reflection of an ongoing
pattern of construction materials price increases attributable in part to
robust levels of economic activity in China and other parts of the emerging
There may be more price hikes ahead for contractors, Basu
“However, given the global dynamics, other construction materials
and supplies may continue to experience rising price levels making the overall
cost of construction more expensive at a time when purchasers of construction
materials remain particularly price sensitive,” he said.