PETALING JAYA (Sept 6): Construction raw material prices are expected to stay high as the global supply chain has been affected by the Delta coronavirus variant, reported Business Times.

Although global economies are moving to recovery phases, the market supply of construction raw materials is lagging behind surging demand as the supply chain has been affected due to lockdowns in many countries since early this year. 

The report, citing a Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL) spokesperson, said the current prices of raw materials have increased at least 20%; for instance, steel rebar prices have risen 54%, aluminium prices 59%, copper prices 81% and concrete prices more than 20%.

"While Singapore has a regionally diversified source of material supply, sporadic lockdowns as well as border restrictions imposed by countries have greatly disrupted the continuity of supply. Therefore, the delivery of required materials has seen significant delays for most projects," the spokesperson said.

Citing Pan-United Cement CEO May Ng, the report said the lockdown-related disruptions have pushed up the cement price around 40%.

She said production facilities have been adversely affected at different times due to the pandemic, with the most recent disruption being the lockdown imposed in Malaysia. This has caused the cost of cement and aggregates to rise.

Tile specialist Soon Bee Huat said their costs have gone up about 5% to 7% compared to pre-pandemic times due to a rise in gas prices for tile-firing in kilns.

SCAL expects construction raw material prices to stay high in the near term as countries such as India, China and the US have introduced economic stimulating packages which involve infrastructure developments to revive their economies.

With the US$1 trillion (RM4.145 trillion) infrastructure package being rolled out at the same period by the US government, global demand and prices for raw materials will continue to climb, said the report.

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