Public Sector Construction Spending May Take Hit as Price Index Evens

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MetalMiner Construction Metals Index February 2013 graph

The monthly Construction MMI® held steady at 92. European aluminum prices served as the only drag in the complex, while China rebar and h-beam prices helped to support the numbers.

December’s construction data coming from the US Census Bureau shows seasonally adjusted annualized spending growth of $885 billion in December, up from $778.2 billion in 2011. Total private sector construction spending for 2012 increased more than $80 billion from the previous year.

The total value of public sector spending in 2012, however, declined slightly from 2011’s figure. Total construction expenditures for 2012 reached $850.2 billion when compared to 2011 expenditures of $778.2 billion, a growth rate of 9.2%.

What does this tell us?

“Sequestration now looks like a real possibility come March 1,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “It appears as though non-defense spending might receive a 5% haircut, which would have an impact on the public sector spending portion of total construction expenditures.”

Select Price Drivers of the Construction Index

After rising 7.7 percent, the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines finished the month up much higher. After a 2.4 percent increase, Chinese H-beam steel finished the month up as well. Chinese rebar shifted up 2.2 percent last month to settle just below $600 per metric ton.

today's metal prices - MetalMiner IndXUS shredded scrap prices fell 0.5 percent after rising 1 percent the previous month.

After rising 0.5 percent the previous month, European 1050 aluminum sheet prices dropped 2.3 percent.

The weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge rose 0.6 percent after falling the previous month. With a 0.7 percent decline, the weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge closed the month down. The weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge saw a tiny decline this month as well.

The Construction MMI® collects and weights 9 metal price points used within the construction industry to provide a unique view into construction industry price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Construction MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

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