I just read this article exclaiming "Nonresidential Construction Materials Prices Tick Higher in January." But the title is a bit misleading. Sure, the article says that there have been large recent price increases in cement, natural gas, iron and steel, copper, and architectural metalwork. Ok, that's important and those are key materials for construction. But later, the article states that there have been large price decreases in diesel fuel, asphalt, nonferrous pipe and tube, and construction equipment and leasing. Doesn't this indicate that the price of construction materials is a mixed bag? The key for contractors is to regularly check market prices for commodities and materials as to be aware of the price changes and make sure they account for them in their bids as necessary.
Somehow buried in the article is the slight mention that construction downside risks have fallen. This, to me seems important. The article states that the major risks facing construction economics, albeit small, are issues stemming from a tapering of quantitative easing, debt default in a (none in particular) European country, and a (none in particular) European country exiting the Euro.