StatWatch: Stone Imports, September 2008

Marble provided a bright spot for dimensional-stone imports in September, and granite tonnage also looked good … although it could be only a one-month reprieve from this year’s downward trend.

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 September 2008 (along with a comparison with September 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: $99,281,726 (-17.78%)

Sector leader: Brazil @ $37,588,831 (-17.51%)

Backfill: Two of the Big Four in granite imports – China and India – slowed the usual double digit decline of this year, dropping 7.24% and 4.64%, respectively. Italy, however, showed a 37.22% decline from September 2007.

Worked Granite Volume

Total: 164,366 metric tons (+6.92%)

Sector leader: India @ 63,538 metric tons (+214.35%)

Backfill: India’s tonnage in September is three times that of the previous month, and the shipments may be more of an aberration than a trend. Brazil, meanwhile, dropped 20.84% from last September’s totals, and China slid by 51.66%. Italy, meanwhile, scored a 86% tonnage increase from a year ago; the large decline in value means that Italian exporters sold for less.

Worked Marble Value

Total: $23,007,502 (+8.35%)

Sector leader: Italy @ $9,122,806 (+2.06%)

Backfill: China provided the biggest boost in value, up 36.96% from September 2007. Spain showed an 8.24% increase, while Turkey’s imports dropped by 10.43%

Worked Marble Volume

Total: 18,926 metric tons (+3.19%)

Sector leader: China @ 4,872 metric tons (+33.15%)

Backfill: China pushed ahead of Italy in volume; Italia exports dropped 14.08% from the previous September. Spain increased its exports by 15%, while Turkey experienced a 26.62% fall.

Travertine Value

Total: $35,370,161 (-23.18%)

Sector leader: Turkey @ $22,390,877 (-25.75%)

Backfill: China is a distant fifth at $1.38 million, but that’s a 73.58% increase from September 2007. Italy’s shipment value increased by 6.61%; Mexico’s declined by 31.27%.

Travertine Volume

Total: 66.391 metric tons (-18.16%)

Sector leader: Turkey @ 54,341 metric tons (+9.99%)

Backfill: An increase in tonnage and a large decrease in value show that Turkey is slashing prices to keep stone moving to the United States. Mexico’s import volume dropped dramatically – 63.7% — from a year ago.

Other Calcereous Volume

Total: 25,079 metric tons (-55.72%)

Sector leader: Lebanon @ 11,585 metric tons (-49.92%)

Backfill: The Lebanese boomlet may be over in this category with the second consecutive month of major reductions in exports to the United States.

Slate Value

Total: $7,632,370 (-21.79%)

Sector leader: India @ $3,293,213 (-22.95%)

Backfill: India moved ahead of China – by $100,000 – in import values for the month, but both showed declines of more than 20% from September 2007.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

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

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