Commodity Price

Am I the only one who is a bit insulted that glass is still considered a “commodity?” Most of the commoditized glass we see now is not made in North America. Instead, manufacturers here produce mainly value-added glass, replete with coatings and fabrication that turns them into much more than just glass—much more than a commodity.

Consider, too, how the price of glass stacks up against other construction-related prices. This graph, created by KMResearch from data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), shows how glass prices have changed in comparison to other such building commodities:

Glass prices have been relatively stable the past year following a rapid increase. Nick St. Denis, director of research at KMR, says the rate of increase peaked about 18 months ago.

“The year-over-year increase at the end of 2022 was 22%,” says St. Denis, who manages GlassData, a statistical platform with data and research focused on the architectural glass in dust. “It has slowed down since, and the past few quarters have actually shown a slight decrease.”

The effect of surcharges should not be discounted either. I have heard reports of surcharges as high as 12.5%. We asked BLS if they take surcharges into account in the Producer Price Index, which is the data used in the graph above. They told us it did—for producers, i.e., manufacturers. However, we have seen that surcharges occur in many channels to market in the industry.