Construction material prices rose .3 percent in February according to the March 14 Producer Price Index (PPI) report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Overall, construction materials prices remain 2 percent higher than one year ago.

Softwood lumber prices increased 2 percent last month and are up 27 percent compared to February 2012.

In contrast, a number of materials prices recorded declines. Fabricated structural metal fell by 0.1 percent on a monthly basis and is flat relative to a year ago. Prices of iron and steel products fell 1.8 percent on a monthly basis and are down 10.8 percent compared to one year ago.

Crude energy materials prices rose 2.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, which is largely attributable to a 6.3-percent increase in petroleum prices.

“Increased volatility in monthly construction materials prices continues,” said Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu. “A number of different factors are at work. Key asset prices are generally on the rise globally; this is particularly apparent given the behavior of U.S. equity markets. Other prices are also on the rise, due in part to accelerating global economic growth and accommodative monetary policy.”



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