Copper and plastic are equally popular, says Wolseley

Published:  10 February, 2011

LEAMINGTON SPA: Wolseley reports no change in plumbing fitting buying habits despite rapidly rising copper prices.

Mark Fearon, director of group communications and investor relations at Wolseley, said there had already been a 4% shift from copper to plastic in the UK over the last five years but this has "not accelerated".

"As a distribution business we pass through cost increases. But equally there does come a point when higher prices will affect demand," he said.

Copper prices have increased by 200% over the last two years with the global economy recovering, demand in China increasing, and supply constrained by incidents in Chile, the largest supplier.

Average copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have surged by more than 46% in the past year, with prices passing the $10,000 a ton level at the end of last week. Although rising oil prices drive up the price of plastic fitting the rise have not been nearly as large.

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