RETAIL PRICE growth in construction materials in Metro Manila rose 2.1% year on year in October, the largest increase in almost three years, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Monday.
According to preliminary PSA data, the rise in the October construction materials retail price index (CMRPI) accelerated from 2% in September and 1.4% a year earlier.
The 2.1% reading in October was the largest since December 2019, when retail construction materials prices grew 2.5%.
In the year to date, the CMRPI was up 1.4%.
The October result was driven by faster growth in plumbing materials (1.8% from 1.3% in September), tinsmithry materials (3.6% from 3.1%), and miscellaneous construction materials (2.8% from 2.5%).
Retail price growth in electrical materials was unchanged at 1.3%.
“(The increase) in construction retail prices may be due to the resumption of many construction activities as the pandemic situation improves,” Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Economist John Paolo R. Rivera said in an e-mail.
Mr. Rivera noted that even with increased demand, the supply of construction materials “may be slow to catch up” due to disruptions in the supply chain brought by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“If the Omicron variant is contained and supply constraints from abroad are managed, we might see improvements in retail construction prices,” he said.
BDO Unibank, Inc. Chief Market Strategist Jonathan L. Ravelas concurred, adding that the supply chain bottlenecks are “still being felt in the prices.”
“Prices will continue to be elevated,” Mr. Ravelas said in a Viber message.
The Department of Health announced on Dec. 15 the detection of the first two cases of the Omicron variant in the Philippines. As of Monday, four cases have been detected. — Lourdes O. Pilar