Plumbing prices plateau
Average prices for plumbing fixtures and brass fittings produced by U.S. manufacturers were only 0.4 higher in November 2001 than in November 2000, according to data from the Labor Department's Producer Price Index (PPI) monthly survey. Inflation in this product market was essentially nonexistent last year following an increase of 2.1 percent in average prices between 1999 and 2000.
Low raw material prices, particularly for copper, and intense competition from imports have helped keep price increases for domestically produced plumbing products to a minimum. Worldwide production capacity and weaker demand from building markets will keep inflationary pressures in check this year. Average price increases for plumbing products should be below 1 percent again in 2002.