COPPER PLUMBING TUBE Analysts see more than one leak plaguing the plumbing

Dec 01, 2007 | 01:15 PM |

The swing toward plastic piping is gathering momentum and the copper plumbing tube market is bracing for further substitution losses, according to analysts.

Substitution losses in the global plumbing tube market last year totaled 10 percent, or about 120,000 tonnes, said Jon Barnes, principal consultant for copper fabricating at CRU International Ltd., London. With the move toward plastic plumbing tube accelerating as the price of copper remains high and home builders look to reduce costs, total substitution losses this year could total another 15 percent, or between 160,000 and 170,000 tonnes.

"Substitution is huge and it's becoming a problem because it's a global phenomenon," Barnes said. "Part of it is being driven by the fact that, laborwise, it's cheaper to install PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) and multi-layered tube than it is copper tube. It's a lot quicker to install and, therefore, takes less man-hours."....

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