StatWatch: Stone Imports, August 2008

The decline in granite imports continued through August, with most of the other dimensional-stone imports following suit – with the exception of a manic market in other calcareous.
The following is taken from data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission. All figures give are for August 2008 (along with a comparison with June 2007 data). “Worked” stone is material that’s been shorn from boulders and blocks, and then cut in standard dimensional measures (such as slabs and tiles) and polished.

Worked Granite Value

Total: $100,856,490 (-29.53%)

Sector leader: Brazil @ $33,052,716 (-34.52%)

Backfill: The strongest of the Big Four (Brazil, China, India, Italy) in granite imports is China; while it’s not the leader, its August 2008 total value of $25,167,640 is only 12% off from last August.

Worked Granite Volume

Total: 107.860 metric tons (-48.61%)

Sector leader: Brazil @ 38,451 metric tons (-50.13%)

Backfill: China’s 30,098 metric tons in August is a 26.98% decline from the previous years, but it’s the only one of the Big Four that didn’t suffer a 50% drop-off.

Worked Marble Value

Total: $28,096,774 (-14.94%)

Sector leader: Italy @ $14,560,919 (4.64%)

Backfill: Italy is the only exporter to increase August marble value from ’07 to ’08. Spain took the biggest hit, with its $2,788,822 showing a 38% loss.

Worked Marble Volume

Total: 20,234 metric tons (-31.8%)

Sector leader: Italy @ 6,976 metric tons (-20.03%)

Backfill: Every country falls from August ’07 amounts; Israel drops from fifth overall in ’07 to 11th in ’08 with a 68.83% decline in import volume.

Travertine Value

Total: $34,017,834 (-32.83%)

Sector leader: Turkey @ $21,448,691(-30.21%)

Backfill: China reports the only gain from August ’07; its $1,245,117 this August shows an improvement of not quite $10,000.

Travertine Volume

Total: 55,467 metric tons (-25.92%)

Sector leader: Turkey @ 35,469 metric tons (-32.96%)

Backfill: How much does Turkey dominate? Consider that Mexico placed second in travertine imports for August ’08 with 7,056 metric tons – and that’s nearly twice as much as the next country, Italy.

Other Calcereous Volume

Total: 37,245 metric tons (31.29%)

Sector leader: Lebanon @ 22.205 metric tons (200.51%)

Backfill: This market is literally all over the map in 2008 by countries shipping in unbelievable fits and starts; Turkey reported 88,661 metric tons this June, yet only 713 metric tons two months later.

Slate Value

Total: $9,176,111 (-17.98%)

Sector leader: China @ $3,989,915 (1.15%)

Backfill: China appears to be pulling ahead for good in its usual neck-and-neck competition with India to dominate this export category.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at, where you can also find this blog at the Main Menu under the clever title of “Editor’s Blog.”

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