WHOLESALE PRICE growth of construction materials in Metro Manila accelerated in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
The construction materials wholesale price index (CMWPI), grew 0.8% year on year in October, against a 0.5% growth in September. The October 2019 growth rate was 2.6%.
The pickup in CMWPI growth was driven by price growth in sand and gravel (1.7% from 1.5% in September); tileworks (13.8% from 13.4%); doors, jambs, and steel casements (0.2% from 0.1%); and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes (4.4% from 3.8%).
Meanwhile, a slowdown in price increases was noted in concrete products and cement (1.1% from 1.2%); hardware (3% from 3.6%); lumber (3% from 4.4%); and electrical works (1.5% from 2.1%).
Growth was unchanged month-on-month in prices of galvanized iron sheets (0.9%); glass and glass products (7.1%); and painting works (0.6%). Asphalt and machinery and equipment rental posted zero growth, unchanged from a month earlier.
Wholesale prices are obtained by large-scale buyers like construction companies, reflecting demand and making such price movements a potential leading indicator for construction activity.
“The increase in CMWPI in October 2020 may be due to faster increases in big-ticket construction developments over retail-type construction, especially the recent months where the Philippines was slowly relaxing its quarantine protocols,” Asian Institute of Management Economist John Paolo R. Rivera said via mobile phone.
“However, it is still slow due to the persistence of quarantines particularly in urban areas,” he added.
Mr. Rivera expects “slight progressive increases” in the prices of construction materials “in conjunction with the slow and progressive opening of the economy.”
“The recent natural calamities have (also) exacerbated time and supply constraints. Hence, some increase in prices,” he said. — Jobo E. Hernandez