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Construction materials price growth in Metro Manila eases in January

PRICE growth for construction materials in the National Capital Region slowed in January at both the retail and wholesale levels, driven by the stronger peso, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.

According to the PSA, growth in the construction materials retail price index eased to 5.5% year on year in January from 5.6% a month earlier. Year-earlier growth was 3%.

The January reading was the lowest since the 4.8% growth posted in March 2022.

Metro Manila's construction materials wholesale price index

“Construction materials retail price growth eased to 5.5% in January 2023 partly due to the stronger peso exchange rate. (The peso was at some of its strongest levels) in nearly eight months that somewhat reduced import prices of imported construction materials as well as the net downward correction in global commodity prices of construction materials in recent months amid the risk of recession in the US,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

The peso closed at P55.09 against the dollar Tuesday, weakening from Monday’s P54.95 finish.

Of the seven categories of commodity, five posted slower growth in January. Prices of electrical materials rose 3.1% year on year, against 3.3% in December. This was followed by masonry materials (3.6% from 4.4%); plumbing materials (4.4% from 5%); tinsmithry materials (7.1% from 7%); and miscellaneous construction materials (8.5% from 8.9%).

Metro Manila's construction materials retail price index

Growth in carpentry materials prices accelerated to 3.5% from 2.9% a month earlier, while growth in painting materials prices was unchanged at 5.2%.

In a separate report, wholesale price growth of construction materials in Metro Manila slowed to 9.4% in January from 10.3% a month earlier. A year earlier, price growth was 5.3%.

The January reading was the lowest since the 7% posted in August.

Of the 17 commodities, 13 posted weaker price growth, led by sand and gravel where price growth slowed to 5.7% from 8% in December. Also posting lower price growth were concrete products and cement (10.2% from 10.5%); hardware (7.1% from 7.6%); lumber (7.4% from 7.8%); G.I. sheets (14.5% from 17.1%); reinforcing and structural steel (11.4% from 12.3%); tileworks (5.1% from 5.9%); doors, jambs, and steel casements (5.7% from 6.4%); electrical works (7.9% from 8.1%); plumbing fixtures and accessories or waterworks (2.1% from 5.9%); painting works (11.7% from 12%); PVC pipes (1.8% from 2.7%); and fuels and lubricants (6.4% from 8.6%).

Mr. Ricafort forecasts an increase in building materials prices following the gradual economic reopening of China. — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo

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