Prices for inputs to construction industries fell 0.1 percent in April, and prices have now fallen in six of the previous eight months, according to analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors6EAB6C3900 (ABC). Input prices are also down on a year-over-year basis, falling 4 percent since April 2014.

Prices for inputs to nonresidential construction showed a similar decline, falling 0.1 percent for the month and 5.1 percent year-over-year.

“Two major factors contributed to April’s falling prices,” says ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. “The strong U.S. dollar, which has expanded by over 10 percent against the currencies of the United States’ primary trading partners, has neutralized any underlying inflationary pressures. The other key factor in the subdued price growth is lower energy prices. Consider that prices for crude petroleum, natural gas, and crude energy materials are all over 40 percent lower than in April 2014.”

Seven of the 11 key construction inputs did not expand for the month, including fabricated structural metal, which saw its product prices drop 0.5 percent. Those prices, however, have expanded 0.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.

“The U.S. economy continues to disappoint as the expectation had been that the U.S. economy would significantly outperform the balance of the advanced world’s economy this year,” says Basu. “While there is still a chance that that could happen, several sectors of the economy continue to underperform, none worse than retail. Data released yesterday indicate that sales remain flat despite improved weather.

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