GROWTH in wholesale and retail prices of building materials in Metro Manila eased in July, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Monday.

The PSA said growth in its construction materials wholesale price index (CMWPI) eased to 5.7% year on year in July, the lowest since the 5.2% reading in February 2022.

In June the index returned to a growth rate of 5.9%. In July 2022, the index posted 8.7% growth.

The July reading marks the ninth month of decline in the CMWPI after the 11% peak in October.

This brought the CMWPI to a 7.4% average in the seven months to July, against a 7.1% reading a year earlier.

The PSA attributed the lower July reading to easing price growth in heavily-weighted concrete products and cement (8.4% from 8.9% in June). These items account for 28% of the bulk construction materials basket of goods.

Easing price growth was also noted in sand and gravel (3.6% in July from 4.1% in June); hardware (5.9% from 6.2%); plywood (4% from 4.2%); lumber (4.2% from 5.1%); electrical works (5.5% from 5.9%); painting works (10.3% from 11.2%); plumbing fixtures and accessories/waterworks (3.2% from 3.6%); and doors, jambs, and steel casements (4.6% from 4.9%).

Year-on-year price growth at the retail level, as measured by the construction materials retail price index (CMRPI) in the National Capital Region (NCR), also weakened to 1.5% in July from 1.9% in June and 7% a year earlier.

This was the weakest CMRPI reading since the 1.4% posted in July 2021.

In the seven months to July, CMRPI averaged 3.3%, against the 5.3% from a year earlier.

Easing price growth in heavily-weighted items such as tinsmithry materials (3.4% from 3.9%) and carpentry materials (1.2% from 2.1%) dragged down the July CMRPI reading.

Also easing were painting materials and related compounds (3.1% from 4.2%) and masonry materials (1.5% from 1.6%).

Plumbing materials and electrical materials prices were steady at 0.3% and 1.2%, respectively. — Andrea C. Abestano