US Construction Spending Barely Rises, 90% of Conflict Minerals Reports Not Guaranteed Conflict-Free

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Construction spending still isn’t taking off in the US and most companies can’t guarantee their minerals are conflict-free.

Construction Spending Up, But Barely

US construction spending barely rose in June as private outlays posted their biggest drop in a year, but the underlying trend suggested the economy remained on solid ground.

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Construction spending increased 0.1%, the smallest rise since January, the Commerce Department said on Monday.

May’s outlays were revised sharply higher to show a 1.8% gain instead of the previously reported 0.8% rise. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending rising 0.6%in June. Construction spending was up 12% compared to June of last year.

Conflict Minerals Compliance Harder Than it Seems

US companies shelled out roughly $709 million and six million staff hours last year to comply with rules to disclose “conflict minerals” in their supply chains, according to recent research by Tulane University and Assent Compliance, a New York consulting firm, yet most still could not guarantee that none of their raw materials came from conflict areas.

“Conflict minerals” include tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The conflict-torn country holds vast reserves of these four minerals, which are widely used in a flurry of products, from electronic devices to engagement rings to auto parts, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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90% of the 1,262 companies that filed conflict-mineral reports with US securities regulators last year said they couldn’t determine whether their products are conflict-free, according to Tulane University’s research.

 

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