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Prices ebb for building materials amid commodities rout

TOKYO -- Construction materials have gotten cheaper amid the commodities bust and shrinking demand, bringing some needed relief to companies hit by rising costs to build.

     Steel H-beams now go for just over 70,000 yen ($590) a ton on the open market, down 11% from a year ago. Steel rods used for reinforcing bars have plunged 20%.

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