PHILIPPINE STAR/RUSSELL PALMA

BULK construction materials price growth in the National Capital Region (NCR) slowed to a two-year low while retail price growth was flat, with analysts saying the supply of building material was not pressured by any major disasters during the month.

The Philippine Statistics Authority, citing preliminary data, said the construction materials wholesale price index (CMWPI) in the NCR rose 1.7% in October against the 2.2% reading in September. The October result was well off the 11% high from a year earlier.

It was also the weakest rise in the CMWPI since the 1.2% posted in January 2021.

In the year to date, the CMWPI averaged 6.1%, below the year-earlier 8.3% average.

In an e-mail, Oikonomia Advisory & Research, Inc. President and Chief Economist John Paolo R. Rivera noted that supply was ample and that suppliers may have responded by cutting their margins.

“The fact that no major natural calamities happened helped alleviate supply side constraints,” he added.

On a year-on-year basis, price growth slowed the most in the fuels and lubricants category in October, contracting by 0.7% against a rise of 16.9% a year earlier. Also showing slower price growth were G.I. sheets (3.5% in October from 16.6% in October 2022) and reinforcing and structural steel (0.6% from 13%). 

On a month-on-month basis, the categories where price growth weakened were tileworks (-0.4% from 0.9%), electrical works (4.7% from 5.8%), and G.I. sheets (3.5% from 4.5%).

Retail price growth of construction materials in the NCR was steady at 1.1% in October compared with September. Growth slowed from the 6.6% posted a year earlier.

The October reading for retail price growth was the lowest since the 1% posted in May 2020.

In the first 10 months, the CMWPI averaged 2.6%, against the year-earlier average of 5.8%. 

For the remainder of the year, Mr. Rivera sees an uptick in prices as the holiday season increases demand. — Bernadette Therese M. Gadon