Building material price growth eases in May

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE GROWTH in retail prices of construction materials in the National Capital Region (NCR) eased in May, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Wednesday.

Data from the PSA showed the NCR construction materials retail price index, which measures changes in the average retail prices of construction materials in the region, registered an annual growth of 1.2% in May, a tad slower than the 1.3% logged in April.

May’s preliminary result was driven by slower pickup in prices of carpentry materials (1.5% from 1.8% in April) and masonry materials (1.5% from 1.6%).

The year-on-year growth in other commodities remained unchanged when compared with the previous month: tinsmith materials (1.8%), painting materials and related compounds (0.9%), and plumbing materials (0.7%).

On the other hand, the indices for miscellaneous materials and electrical materials showed faster annual growth with 1.5% and 0.8%, respectively, from 1.2% and 0.5% in April.

In an e-mail, ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa attributed the slight easing of prices in May to the stoppage of some construction activities in April when stricter lockdown measures were implemented in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.

The so-called NCR Plus was placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 amid a surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. This was later relaxed to a more lenient modified ECQ from April 12 to May 14.

“Given expectations for faster economic growth and a resumption of construction activities, we can expect the index to accelerate in the coming months,” Mr. Mapa said.

“On top of demand dynamics, we are noticing a gradual uptick in global prices for commodities due to supply bottlenecks, a container shortage and the acceleration of growth in China and the US. Thus, we can expect construction materials to see an uptick in prices in the coming months with both the domestic and global economic activity accelerating,” he added. — Bernadette Therese M. Gadon

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