Ferrous Metals

The biggest monthly gain in petroleum prices in more than three years caused construction materials prices to increase 0.4% in February, ending a six-month streak of falling prices, according to the March 13 producer price index release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzed by the Associated Builders and Contractors of America.

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Year-over-year construction input prices fell 3.9%. Nonresidential construction input prices also rose 0.4% on a monthly basis and were down 4.9% on a yearly basis.

“While conventional wisdom suggests that oil and natural gas prices will eventually rise, the adjustment period could be a lengthy one, and although crude petroleum prices were up 12.3% on a monthly basis, this is likely a function of an abnormally cold February,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This rise is the first monthly gain since April 2014 and the eighth consecutive month in which petroleum prices were down on a year-over-year basis.”

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