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NCR building material bulk prices hit 18-month high

BULK PRICES of construction materials in Metro Manila grew at the fastest rate in 18 months in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Thursday.

The construction materials wholesale price index rose 2.4% in April, against growth of 2.2% in March and 1.5% in April 2020.

The index gains were also the highest in 18 months, or since the 2.6% increase in October 2019.

The PSA said the April outcome was most influenced by the following commodity groups: fuels and lubricants (22.3% from 6.8% in March); PVC pipes (2.6% from 0.6%); electrical works (2.5% from 1.5%); concrete products and cement (1.6% from 1.2%); and doors, jambs, and steel casements (1.4% from 1.2%).

Meanwhile, slowdowns were noted in the price growth of hardware (1.7% from 1.9%) and lumber (1.3% from 2.8%).

Compared with the previous month, growth in wholesale prices was unchanged for glass and glass products (14.4%); reinforcing and structural steel (3.3%); tileworks (2.2%); plywood (1.2%); painting works (0.9%); and galvanized iron sheets (0.5%).

Wholesale prices for asphalt and machinery and equipment rental were flat in April.

Plumbing fixtures and accessories saw their wholesale prices decline by 2.2%, a rate of decline unchanged from the month before.

Wholesale prices of these materials reflect bulk buying by large construction firms engaged in major projects. The PSA’s national accounts indicate that among subsectors, construction was the biggest contributor to the decline of gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2021. Of the 4.2% contraction during the period, the sector accounted for 1.6 percentage points.

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