According to the Producer Price Index report from the U.S. Labor Department, prices for construction materials and supplies in July 2010 were down 0.2% from June 2010, yet they were up 4.5% from July 2009.

July prices from softwood lumber were down 3.3% for the month, along with iron and steel prices down 2.3%. Steel mill prices were down 1.4% and nonferrous wire and cable prices fell 0.8%.

On the other side, prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding prices were up 3.8%, ferrous wire prices increased 0.9%, plumbing fixtures and fittings were up 0.2%, fabricated structural metal products rose 0.1%, crude energy prices jumped 4.5%, and natural gas prices increased 11.7% in July.

According to Arlington, Va.-based Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu, “While economy-wide deflation remains unlikely in the minds of many, elements of the U.S. economy will experience a lack of pricing power, which will translate into falling prices. That may explain what is occurring now with construction materials prices, which experienced their second consecutive monthly decline.”