Construction MMI®: Apartment Starts Slip, Dragging Housing Down

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A decline in construction started on apartments led to a slower pace of home building last month, according to government data released Wednesday.

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Housing starts fell 2.8% in October to an annualized pace of 1.01 million from 1.04 million in September, the US Commerce Department reported. The October starts rate in buildings with at least 5 units dropped 15.5%. Meanwhile, construction starts for single-family homes rose 4.2%, reaching the highest pace since November 2013.

In other construction news, the Keystone XL Pipeline failed to pass the US Senate (again) and non-residential architecture billings were down, as well.

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Construction MMI® was the price of US shredded scrap, which saw a 1.4% decline to $343.00 per short ton. Last week marked the fourth in a row of declining prices for the metal. The price of Chinese rebar fell 0.7% to CNY 3,040 ($496.44) per metric ton after rising 1.0% the week before. Closing at CNY 970.00 ($158.40) per dry metric ton, the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines remained unchanged for the week. At CNY 2,860 ($467.04) per metric ton, the price of Chinese H-beam steel did not change since the previous week.

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Following a steady week, prices for Chinese aluminum bar closed flat at CNY 14,200 ($2,319) per metric ton. European 1050 aluminum remained essentially flat from the previous week at EUR 2,496 ($3,156) per metric ton.

Following a 3.3% increase in the week prior, the weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge fell 1.1% last week to $0.51 per mile. The weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge fell 0.9% to $0.47 per mile after rising 1.3% the week before. The weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge closed at $0.52 per mile after a flat week.

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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