WHOLESALE PRICE growth in building materials in Metro Manila was at its highest level in over a decade in April as construction activity picked up as quarantine restrictions eased.
According to preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the construction materials wholesale price index (CMWPI) for the National Capital Region (NCR) rose by 6.9% in April, accelerating from 6.6% in March and 2.4% a year earlier.
The April estimate matched the 6.9% reading posted in January 2012, making it the highest in 124 months. The high before that was 8.3% in December 2011.
In the year to date, Metro Manila’s CMWPI averaged 6%, against the year-earlier rate of 1.9%.
“Rising demand for construction materials due to the reopening of the economy and resumption of economic activities alongside supply constraints is pushing prices of building materials to increase,” Asian Institute of Management Economist John Paolo R. Rivera said in a text message.
April was the second month the capital and surrounding areas were observing Alert Level 1, the most permissive quarantine setting for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Price growth in reinforcing and structural steel prices was 11.2% in April (up from 10.5% in March). The corresponding movement in prices in fuels and lubricants was 41.7%, from 36.3% a month earlier.
“There is demand for such materials because they are the basic materials required by developers. The supply constraints due to the war and persistence of the pandemic contributes (are behind the) price increases,” Mr. Rivera said.
Other commodities posting price growth were sand and gravel, (2.7% in April from 2.5% in March); hardware (4.6% from 3.5%); lumber (3.8% from 3.1%); doors, jambs, and steel casements (1.9% from 1.4%); plumbing fixtures and accessories/waterworks (8.0% from 7.4%); and painting works (4.7% from 4.5%).
Slower growth was noted in plywood (4.4% from 4.5%); electrical works (9.5% from 10%); and PVC pipes (3.8% from 5.3%).
Price growth in the remaining categories was unchanged at the following levels: concrete products and cement (4.8%); G.I. sheets (13.5%); glass and glass products (1.4%).
Mr. Rivera said CMWPI in the coming months will be driven by developments in the global markets for construction supplies, particularly if supply-chain disruptions ease. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona