StatWatch: U.S. Stone Imports, June 2011

By Emerson Schwartzkopf

StatWatch is a snapshot of U.S. dimensional-stone imports, offering a summary and exclusive Stone Business analysis of data from the U.S. International Trade Commission. Comparisons are made mainly on an annual level to gauge market trends. Analysis is made on import figures of the latest month available.

120_em_hedAll figures give are for June 2011 (change from June 2010 amounts in parentheses). “Worked” stone is material that’s shorn from boulders and blocks, and then cut in standard dimensional measures (such as slabs and tiles) and polished (at least once, one side). “Value” represents the declared customs value of stone.
 
WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total: $102.1 million (10.5%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $47.4 million (15.6%)

Backfill: As far as values declared at customs, granite surges ahead of last year, with India making the biggest advance from June ’10 with $13.8 million (up 16.5%). That barely holds off Italy at $13 million even (up 7.4%). China gets the second spot at $21.4 million, but barely 0.4% ahead of the same time last year.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total:
116,578 metric tons (-32.3%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 55,922 metric tons (-41.7%)

Backfill: May 2011’s boom turns into June’s bust, as shipments drop sharply from Brazil and China (26,260 metric tons, -40.9% from last June). India manages to improve from last year with 17,416 metric tons (up 11.9%).

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total: $19.1 million (2.9%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $8.2 million (17.1%)

Backfill: Values also remain strong with marble; China boosts its share to $4.2 million, up 12.6% from June 2010. Turkey and Spain round out the million-dollar club ($2.2 million and $2.0 million, respectively); it’s a 7.8% solution, as Turkey drops and Spain rises by the same measure from last year’s levels.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total:
17,120 metric tons (3.0%)
Sector leader: China @ 5,059 metric tons (-5.9%)

Backfill: The category makes a small gain, and China keeps its top tonnage mark for the third straight month – even as it sends less marble to U.S. docks than last June. Italy follows closely in second at 4,888 metric tons (up 22.5% from June 2010), and Spain gets stronger at 2,589 metric tons (up 12.8%).

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $24.6 million (2.5%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $16.5 million (5.8%)

Backfill: Travertine continues its slow-and-sure climb, fueled by Turkey’s steady push in the market. Mexico’s $4.6 million (up 6.6% from June 2010) also offers a helping hand. It’s a different story with Italy; the $1.1 million from this June is a 26.3% drop from the year before.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 41,109 metric tons (-31.4%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 32,539 metric tons (-28.8%)

Backfill: June is a month where the numbers offer a biased picture; nearly all major travertine-exporting counties had unusually high June 2010 totals that make this June’s shipments look plain bad. Looking only at 2011 numbers, this June offers the second-best month of the year for most, and the best for Peru at 1,027 metric tons. The only drag this year is China; it showed a high in February at 1,662 metric tons, but dropped all the way to 963 metric tons in June.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $7.4 million (-3.5%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.2 million (23.3%)

Backfill: With Lebanon’s wild output finally out of the picture, things return to something close to normal; China’s good gains from June 2010 are offset by Italy ($1 million, down 10.9%) and Portugal ($853,022, down 6.8%). Other major exporters to the United States moved up or down by less than 4%, except for France’s bounceback ($580,513, up 100.1%).

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 9,899 metric tons (5.2%)
Sector leader: Mexico @ 2,666 metric tons (542.4%)

Backfill: Removing Lebanon’s sky-high tonnage from the mix – it dropped out of the market in May 2010 – gives this category something it hasn’t seen in a year: a gain. Unfortunately, it’s due to abnormally huge shipments from Mexico; other major countries show a loss from last June, save China (1,456 metric tons, up 44.3%).

SLATE VALUE
Total: $4.8 million (3.2%)
Sector leader: China @ $2.1 million (8.9%)

Backfill: It’s all good news here; second-place India also shows an increase of 3.7% from last year with its $1.9 million. Brazil lags far behind at $397,993 in third, but the total shows a 20.1% gain from June 2010.

OTHER STONE VALUE
Total: $17.3 million (-23.3%)
Sector leader: India @ $5.4 million (-22.8%)

Backfill: The struggle continues for this catchall of stone imports, although June’s totals represent the best performance since last September.  Second place Brazil continues a long, deep slide from last year ($4.2 million, down 39%) and China wobbles ($2 million, down 14.9%). Canada steps up slightly ($2 million, up 3.5%) and Italy gets a small 3.4% gain at $1.5 million.

OTHER STONE VOLUME
Total: 20,151 metric tons (-31.6%)
Sector leader: India @ 6,447 metric tons (-23.5%)

Backfill: As with May 2011, no country shipping more than a thousand metric tons in this category offers any growth from the previous year. China gives the best of the worst at 3,061 metric tons, down 13.5%. Brazil’s 5,237 metric tons is a 43% drop from June 2010; Canada makes a 4.17% slip with 2,041 metric tons.


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