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Materials Trends

Prices are updated monthly by ENR's price reporters who call a single source for each product in 20 U.S. cities. The price represents that paid by a contractor for a specified large order. Monthly prices appear on the weekly rotating cycle.

Steel

ENR steel and metal prices for March 2015.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, SteelStructural steel prices fell 0.5% in March.

Steel prices are starting to tumble. ENR's 20-city average price for three types of structural steel declined 0.5% this month, following February's 0.2% drop. Prices are now just 1.2% higher than a year ago. Likewise, ENR's rebar price fell 0.9% in March and is only 1.6% above 2014's level. Spot market prices tracked by Platts Metal Week also are showing weakness. Platts' rebar price fell 3.7% in February, following a 2.4% decline the previous month. Platts' steel-plate price dropped 8.3%, while its price for hot-rolled steel coil fell 9.0%. Both the plate and coil price cuts followed declines during the previous month.

Lumber/Drywall

ENR's Lumber and Panel Prices for March 2015

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Lumber, DrywallENR's lumber prices post modest declines in March.

Prices for 2x4 lumber posted modest declines of about 0.2% in March, according to ENR's 20-city average price for pine, fir and the commonly used species of 2x4s. The monthly decline left prices between 4% to 5.7% higher than March 2014's level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics producer price index for lumber jumped 2% in January, after falling 6.2% during the previous three months. The PPI for lumber prices in January was up just 0.6% for the year. Just four months earlier the index posted an annual increase of 10.1%. The January PPI for plywood was up 7.5% for the year.

Pipe

ENR's Pipe Prices for March 2015.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, PipeRCP prices rebound after months of stability.

After several months of stability, reinforced-concrete pipe prices are starting to increase. In March, ENR's 20-city average price for four types of RCP increased 0.9%, leaving overall prices between 3% to 7% above a year ago. The biggest monthly increase came from the larger 48-in.-dia pipe, which jumped 2.9%. Smaller pipe showed monthly price hikes of around 0.2%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics producer price index for concrete pipe jumped 1.2% in January, following December's 0.9% gain. Those increases broke five months of price stability and left the index 4% above January 2014's level.

Cement/Concrete/Aggregate

ENR asphalt, cement and concrete prices for March 2015.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Cement, Concrete, AggregatesDiesel fuel prices plunge.

Diesel fuel prices plunged 21% in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index. That dip follows monthly price declines of 15% in December, 4% in November and 6% in October. The string of price cuts has left diesel fuel prices 40% below January 2014's level, according to the latest PPI. However, lower oil prices are having little immediate impact on asphalt paving prices. ENR's 20-city average price for asphalt paving oil declined only 0.4% this month and is still 3.5% above a year ago. The PPI for asphalt paving products in January was up 1.5% for the year.

Materials Price Index

The Materials Cost Index is the materials component of ENR’s building and construction cost indexes. It tracks the weighted price movement of structural steel, portland cement and 2 X 4 lumber.

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