Commerce: Construction Spending Fell in August, Market Outlook Still Positive

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US construction spending fell in August, the second decline in the past 3 months, with housing, non-residential and government projects all showing weakness.

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Construction spending dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.8% after a 1.2% increase in July, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The July increase followed a 1.6% June decline.

Despite the reduction in spending, which many attribute to economies of scale and leaner construction practices, the Associated General Contractors of America are still bullish on US construction going into 2014. A new Highway bill, that’s due by May when the federal highway trust fund will run dry, could be a long-term solution that funds federal projects for the next 5 to 10 years.

After falling 1.3%, the weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge landed at $0.52 per short ton, making it the week’s biggest mover on the weekly Construction MMI®. With a 0.8% decrease, the weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge closed the week at $0.50 per mile. The weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge declined to $0.49 per mile after drifting 0.4% since last week.

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This past week, the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines kept quiet, holding at at CNY 970.00 ($157.73) per dry metric ton. Prices for US shredded scrap remained constant, closing the week at $381.00 per short ton. At CNY 3,070 ($499.19) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Chinese H-beam steel. At CNY 2,960 ($481.31) per metric ton, the price of Chinese rebar did not change since the previous week.

Chinese aluminum bar prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 14,200 ($2,309) per metric ton. Following a steady week, prices for European 1050 aluminum closed flat at EUR 2,489 ($3,215) 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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