28HK_DE PPI 1976 - today.jpg

Development of German producer price indices from 1976 to today © Timber-Online

building materials germany

Made up in five months what other building materials needed decades for

Article by Gerd Ebner (translated by Eva Guzely) | 13.07.2021 - 16:05

Destatis provides the producer price indices which Holzkurier publishes monthly for softwood lumber, plastic, fresh concrete, cement and pig iron. This time line goes back to January 1976. Holzkurier recalculated all indices over these past 45 years.

With the exception of pig iron, all building materials peaked in May 2021, with softwood lumber seeing by far the biggest price increase. One might say that lumber managed to make up in five months what other products needed 45 years of constant increases for. Fresh concrete, for example, was the most constant product over these past 45 years. Since the beginning of the 1980s, its price index was always above those of all other building materials and this has not changed to this day. With slight annual rises, fresh concrete made it to over 260% of the 1976 price. Since 2000, the softwood lumber price index has always seen smaller increases compared to the indices of fresh concrete and pig iron. The softwood lumber price index is subject to fluctuations brought about not only by the economic development, as is the case with the other building materials, but also by calamities. When there is too much log wood, the lumber price index falls as a result.

While the price index of fresh concrete rose by 164 percentage points from 1976 to today, the lumber price index “only” went up by 140 percentage points until May, outperforming, however, pig iron whose price index saw an increase of 125 percentage points.

The mean price indices of softwood lumber and pig iron are at around 140% in these past 45 years, while that of fresh concrete is 190%. Fresh concrete has thus seen much more significant increases than the other building materials.

What is also interesting is the fact that the softwood lumber price index never fell below the 100% from which it started in January 1976. This was also the case with fresh concrete, while pig iron (98%) and plastics (90%) also had phases in which they were below 100%.