Weekly Construction MMI®: Best Spending Month Since ’06, China H-Beam Steel Down

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The construction market deftly weathered more than one type of storm in January. Construction spending nationally increased at the fastest pace since pre-recession 2006, according to data by the trade group Associated General Contractors of America.

All spending in January was valued at $943 billion, a 9.3 percent rise compared to January 2013. It was the fastest rate of growth for total construction spending since May 2006, the AGC said. The increase came despite unusually bad weather in much of the country. The January figure was also up about one-tenth of a percent from December. The initial estimate for December was revised upward from its original valuation by about $12 billion. Private residential construction spending increased by 1.1 percent in January and jumped 15 percent over the last 12 months.

“Overall construction spending increased in January compared with both December and January 2013,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The monthly gains were limited to home building and multifamily residential construction, although private nonresidential work should rebound in the next few months. Public construction is up for now on a year-over-year basis, but funding remains questionable.”

In metal price news for construction…

Chinese H-Beam Steel falls 3.8%

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Construction MMI®, Chinese H-beam steel, declined 3.8 percent. The price of Chinese rebar dropped 0.6 percent this week, closing out the third week of declining prices. The price of US shredded scrap dropped by 0.5 percent. The Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines stayed essentially flat.

The monthly Renewables MMI® registered a value of 65 in March, an increase of 3.2 percent

The price of Chinese cobalt cathodes rose 3.3 percent over the past month. Neodymium gained 2.5 percent.

Construction MMI® registered a value of 89 in March, on par with February’s value

It was a strong month for the weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge. The metal posted a 3.0 percent increase. The weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge rose 1.2 percent. European 1050 aluminum saw its price rise 0.6 percent.

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