Likewise, steel, aluminum and copper prices are down but, again, due more to market conditions than oil prices."There has been a great expansion of production capacity for commodities such as copper, aluminum and steel, and the global market is not strong enough to soak up the excess capacity," says McCarren. "That is having a bigger impact on lower commodity prices than the recent drop in oil prices," he adds.
Bucking the downward price trend has been cement, which is posting historically high price increases. In February, the producer price index for cement was 9.4% above a year ago; IHS predicts that will calm down to a year average 3.5% gain. The February PPI for ready-mix concrete was up 4.3% for the year. The PPI for gypsum-wallboard prices rose 3.4% in February, following a 4.6% gain the previous month, leaving prices 1% above a 2014's level. The PPI for plywood prices is up 4.9% for the year.