Economy

Increase in January retail prices of metro’s building materials slows

THE RISE in January retail prices of construction materials in the National Capital Region was the slowest in six months, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The construction materials retail price index in Metro Manila rose 1.2% year on year last month, against 1.4% in December and 0.7% in January 2020.

The recent peak in retail price growth was 1.7% in November while July was the recent trough at 1.1% growth.

Retail prices of construction materials reflect demand for small-scale or do-it-yourself building projects, as opposed to wholesale prices, which tend to be driven by materials procurement of large construction projects such as those being undertaken via the government’s flagship infrastructure program.

Retail purchasers tend to be charged higher prices because their orders lack the scale of larger contractors.

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Slower price growth was recorded in tinsmithry materials (1.7% in January from 2.8% in December), miscellaneous construction materials (0.7% from 1%), electrical materials (0.6% from 0.8%), and plumbing materials (0.6% from 0.7%).

Price growth accelerated in masonry materials (1.5% from 1%), painting materials and related compounds (1.7% from 1.5%), and carpentry materials (1.5% from 1.4%).

“The Philippines’ construction industry had been the fastest-growing in Asia-Pacific before the pandemic, but contracted as activities were halted,” Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces said in a Viber message.

The main driver for the overall industry remains the P1.32-trillion allocation for economic services, including the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program, from out of the P4.5-trillion national budget this year.

Mr. Roces expects these spending levels to support some flagship projects that were left unfunded last year.

“The construction industry should rebound if this is implemented,” he said. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona

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