Construction MMI®: US Apartment Construction Hits 25-Year High

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A big share of July’s gain in housing construction came from the multifamily sector, which tends to be fairly volatile on a monthly basis.

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But looking at a rolling 12-month total of multifamily starts without any seasonal adjustment shows that construction for the year ended July reached its highest level since 1989, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday.

Big gains in apartment construction are less bullish for economic growth than a comparable rise in single-family construction, Diane Swonk, chief economist of Mesirow Financial, told the Wall Street Journal. She said single-family housing has a bigger multiplier effect for both consumer spending and job growth.

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Construction MMI® was the weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge, which saw a 0.7 percent decline to $0.51 per short ton. This week marked the third in a row of declining prices for the metal. The weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge fell 0.3 percent over the past week to $0.50 per mile. This was the fourth week in a row of declining prices. The weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge rose 0.2 percent to $0.53 per mile after falling 0.2 percent during the previous week.

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The price of Chinese rebar declined 0.3 percent over the past week, settling at CNY 3,220 ($523.18) per metric ton. At CNY 970.00 ($157.60) per dry metric ton, the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines remained essentially flat. Following a steady week, prices for US shredded scrap closed flat at $380.00 per short ton. Closing at CNY 3,230 ($524.81) per metric ton, Chinese H-beam steel remained unchanged for the week.

Prices for Chinese aluminum bar remained constant, closing the week at CNY 14,200 ($2,307) per metric ton. European 1050 aluminum prices held steady from the previous week at EUR 2,275 ($3,041) per metric ton.

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. 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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