The biggest monthly gain in petroleum prices in more than 3 years caused construction materials prices to increase 0.4% in February, ending a six-month streak of falling prices, according to the March 13 producer price index release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzed by the Associated Builders and Contractors of America.

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Year-over-year construction input prices fell 3.9%. Nonresidential construction input prices also rose 0.4% on a monthly basis and were down 4.9% on a yearly basis.


Graph courtesy of Associated Builders & Contractors based on BLS data.

“While conventional wisdom suggests that oil and natural gas prices will eventually rise, the adjustment period could be a lengthy one, and although crude petroleum prices were up 12.3% on a monthly basis, this is likely a function of an abnormally cold February,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This rise is the first monthly gain since April 2014 and the eighth consecutive month in which petroleum prices were down on a year-over-year basis.”

Materials Prices That Increased in February:

  • Non-ferrous wire and cable prices grew 0.8% on a monthly basis but fell 4.4% compared to last year.
  • Crude petroleum prices gained 12.3% in February but are down 53.4% from the same time last year.
  • Crude energy materials prices expanded 0.9% in February but are 45 percent lower year-over-year.
  • Concrete products prices expanded 0.2% in February and are up 4.3% on a yearly basis.

Materials Prices That Decreased in February:

  • Prices for plumbing fixtures fell 0.1% percent in February but are up 3% against last year.
  • Fabricated structural metal product prices remained flat for the month and have expanded 1% on a year-over-year basis.
  • Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding fell 1.4% for the month but are up 1.7% on a year-ago basis.
  • Iron and steel prices fell 5.4% in February and are down 10.6% from the same time last year.
  • Steel mill products prices fell 1.8% for the month and are 3.6% lower than one year ago.
  • Natural gas prices fell 11.2% in February and are down 51.8% from one year ago.

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