Monthly Archives: December 2010

StatWatch: Stone Imports, October 2010

Granite’s recovery at the start of Fourth Quarter 2010 is robust; although marble is in the doldrums and travertine is declining from a peak in mid-summer. Other calcareous, meanwhile, is just plain wacky.

The following is an exclusive Stone Business analysis of data released Dec. 10, 2010, by  the U.S. International Trade Commission. All figures give are for October 2010 (change from October 2009 amounts in parentheses). “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 (at least once).

Worked Granite Value
Total: $81.6 million (22.6%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $37.9 million (50.8%)
Backfill: Granite values continue to improve from 2009, although values seem to be decreasing from a summertime high. While Brazil bettered its October ’09 totals by half, China took a 15.1% step back. Outside of the Big Four (Brazil, China, India and Italy) the biggest gainer in 2010 is Saudi Arabia, with $5.8 million  cumulative through October.

Worked Granite Volume
Total: 150,134 metric tons (5.3%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 79,192 metric tons (47.9%)
Backfill: Brazil once again carried more than half of the literal load of granite moving into the United States in October. Italy had its second-best month of 2010 with 27,758 metric tons. Volume from China and India, meanwhile, dropped from October ’09 levels by 46.2% and 61.4%, respectively.

Worked Marble Value
Total: $12.3 million (-11.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $4.8 million (-16.4%)
Backfill: Italy took a tumble from October ’09, and so did second-place China at $3 million (-11.5%). Turkey’s $1.2 million showed a rare gain (3.9% with $1.2 million, and Spain took a small loss (-1.1%) at $1.1 million. The cumulative 2010 import value for worked marble is $158.2 million, down 2.2% from the same time last year.

Worked Marble Volume
Total: 11,469 metric tons (-9.2%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 3,576 metric tons (34.3%)
Backfill: Italy’s gain came from having a crummy October ‘09. China, the cumulative volume leader in 2010, had its worst month this year in October with 3,421 metric tons, down 36.8% from October ’09. Turkey showed the best gain from last October at 6.4%. Cumulative worked-marble volume for all U.S. imports this year is 142,749, up 1.9% from the first 10 months of 2009.

Travertine Value
Total: $18.7 million (-5.6%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $11.4 million (-13.7%)
Backfill: Nobody’s challenging Turkey for the lead; second-place Mexico shipped $3.5 million, down 8% from October ’09. China rocketed to third with $1.5 million (a 121.1% gain, displacing Italy and Peru. Cumulative U.S. travertine imports for 2010 are $210.4 million, or only $1.3 million ahead of the same time last year.

Travertine Volume
Total: 39.883 metric tons (-2.8%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 29,100 metric tons (8.9%)
Backfill: Three out of four metric tons of travertine arriving in the United States in October came from Turkey, but its increase in volume couldn’t offset Mexico 39.4% loss from October ’09 with 6,784 metric tons. China scored a huge 172.7% increase with 1,650 metric tons. The cumulative 397,833 metric tons for 2010 still runs 8.7% ahead of the same time in 2009, although that’s due to larger-than-normal shipments in June 2010 by Turkey, Canada and Peru. 

Other Calcareous Value
Total: $6.8 million (-14.1%)
Sector leader: China @ $917,555 (5.5%)
Backfill: Double-digit gains from October ’09 came to Canada (23.6%), Turkey (71%) and France (35.6%), while perennial value leader Italy dropped 44.5% at $640,851. Cumulative 2010 import values for other calcareous show a 20.8 percent decline at $77.1 million, mainly due to a country that’s disappeared from the market ….

Other Calcareous Volume
Total: 9,670 metric tons (-87%)
Sector leader: New Zealand @ 1,336 metric tons (N/A)
Backfill: After dominating U.S. imports in this stone category for the past few years, Lebanon just dropped out this summer. It led all year (save February, where the Philippines barely took the top spot) and recorded 42,527 metric tons in May. Since then, Lebanon’s shipped 4 metric tons – that’s right, four. New Zealand came out of nowhere to top the volume chart, but with import values in October of a mere $77,600. Something just doesn’t make sense here.

Slate Value
Total: $4.7 million (9.1%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.8 million (-1.7%)
Backfill: China and India, the top two countries in U.S. slate imports, both dropped below October ’09 levels. The overall gain this October came with a remarkable $438,232 in shipments from the United Kingdom, representing a stunning 1,644.3% increase from $25,123 last October; Brazil also pitched in nicely with $389,144, a 36.4% gain.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

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