Construction materials up 20% from 2021

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California Construction News staff writer

Construction input prices across the U.S. increased 1.9% in June compared to the previous month, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data released recently. Nonresidential construction input prices increased 1.8% for the month.

Construction input prices are up 20.1% from a year ago, while nonresidential construction input prices are 20.3% higher. On a monthly basis, input prices were down in four of 11 subcategories in June, with the largest decline registered in the softwood lumber category (-24.8%). All three energy subcategories experienced price increases, with natural gas prices rising 24.3% for the month.

“It’s no secret that contractors and their customers have been walloped by massive increases in construction materials prices,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “That inflation continued through June, as reflected in the decline in profit margin expectations seen in the most recent reading of ABC’s Construction Confidence Index. But more recently, key commodity prices have declined, so it may be possible we have achieved peak inflation.

“Indeed, with much of the world at risk of recession, there is likely to be further downward pressure on commodity prices going forward,” said Basu. “Oil prices had been in the range of $120/barrel recently. As of this morning, the price of oil has dipped into the low $90s. Similarly, natural gas prices have been in decline. In part, this may be because global supply chains are readjusting to disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war. The war creates an ongoing risk of sudden spikes in certain commodity prices, but we appear to be entering a new phase in input price trajectory.”

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