Tag Archives: Greece

StatWatch: U.S. Stone Imports, May 2011

Stone charges ahead, fueled by big increases in granite value and volume and good performances from the marble sector. Other stone categories offer mixed results.

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.

All figures give are for May 2011 (change from May 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:
$98.6 million (18.3.1%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $45.1 million (26.1%)

Backfill: All of a sudden, 2011 looks great for dimensional-stone’s biggest market portion, with May offering the biggest month since the $99.7 million total from last August. Along with Brazil, India primes the pump with $16.9 million, up 45.0 percent from May 2010. China and Italy hew closer to last May’s performances, with small increases of 1.1% and 1.4%, respectively.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total:
226,343 metric tons (48.3%)
Sector leader: India @ 97,489 metric tons (97.0%)

Backfill: It’s bada-BING as the actual tonnage of granite slabs and tiles for May increases by almost half from a year ago. India’s near-doubling of shipments from May 2010 is likely a one-month-wonder, but the rest of granite’s Big Four also show plenty of strength. Brazil’s 57,349 metric tons offer an 18.4 increase from May 2011; China, meanwhile, rolls 27%-more granite onto U.S. docks with 51,422 metric tons. Italy also ups last year’s totals, with 8,573 metric tons representing a 24.7% increase.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total:
$18.3 million (8.5%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $8.7 million (36.9%)

Backfill: The good-news parade continues into the marble sector, although Italy’s big increases are offset somewhat by China’s 13.2% decline and Turkey’s 24.8% drop from May 2010. Spain’s $1.8 million this May offers a 6.2% increase; a small-but-mighty boost, however, is Greece’s $674,521, a 109.5% jump from the same time last year.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total:
15,622 metric tons (5.5%)
Sector leader: China @ 5,307 metric tons (-4.0%)

Backfill: China keeps the top spot for a second consecutive month; while it records a slight drop from last year, marble tonnage to the United States this May shows a 48% from April 2011. Italy’s 30% increase from last May yields 4,350 metric tons, and Spain gets a 3.8%  raise with its 1,954 metric tons.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $23.1 million (6.2%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $15.1 million (6.5%)

Backfill: Travertine – at least in customs value – lets the good times roll for stone imports this month, led by perennial leader Turkey. Mexico also lends a big hand here, with $4.6 million passing last year’s amount by 7.1 percent. China also steps up with a 10.1% increase to $876,834, while Italy’s $898,834 offers nominal 1.5% growth. Peru takes a tumble of 34.7% from last year, finishing this May at $720,567.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total:
37,717 metric tons (-1.7%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 29,048 metric tons (6.1%)

Backfill: Even a good gain by sector leader Turkey doesn’t put travertine’s overall tonnage in positive territory. Mexico boomerangs from its May value increase by posting a volume loss of 27.6% at 5,272 metric tons; other major declines include Peru (684 metric tons, -36.7%) and Italy (630 metric tons, -55.6%). At least China offers a 17.4% gain from last year 885 metric tons … but that’s also down by almost half from April 2011 totals.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total:
$7.7 million (-10.4%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.2 million (38.1%)

Backfill: Sure, there’s a 10% overall drop from May 2010, but that’s also the last month of Lebanon’s appearance in this U.S. import category. There’s only a few thousand dollars of difference (by value) from May to May between the top 15 importers; the biggest knock comes from Italy, down 43.4% at $936,108, with Portugal also dipping 19.6% at $784,273. France bucks up nicely at $770,726 (+45.1%), and Mexico shines at $670,347 (+21.7%).

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 14,054 metric tons (-76.0%)
Sector leader: Mexico @ 6,631 metric tons (1,287.2%)

Backfill: This is it; May 2011 marks the one-year anniversary of Lebanon’s last major shipments of other calcareous to the United States, which means a return to comparable year-to-year numbers next month. For now, it’s still a dance of factoring out Lebanon’s final impact and a massively abnormal May 2010 total from Turkey to get a real trend; slice those two countries from last year’s mix, and that 76% loss turns into a 121% gain. Trying to make sense of this May’s actual tonnage defies logic, as Mexico continues its fourth straight month of huge extraordinary shipments across the border.

SLATE VALUE
Total: $4.7 million (-5.0%)
Sector leader: China @ $2.2 million (7.4%)

Backfill: While totals aren’t as good as last May, slate still records its best month of the year. The fall-off is due to India’s $1.7 million shipped to the United States, down 19.7% from the previous May. Brazil also fell off by 9.4%, although it’s in a distant third with May’s total of $318,078.

OTHER STONE VALUE
Total: $15.7 million (-26.6%)
Sector leader: India @ $5.0 million (-5.2%)

Backfill: The omnibus category of U.S. stone imports continues to underperform in 2011, although May offers the best totals for the sector since last November. Of the million-dollar shippers, only China offers gains from last May at $2.1 million (7.9%). Brazil falls by 51.9% to $3.8 million; other decliners include Canada ($1.5 million, -27.5%) and Italy ($1.2 million, -27.2%).

OTHER STONE VOLUME
Total: 19,1487 metric tons (-27.3%)
Sector leader: India @ 6.059 metric tons (-4.0%)

Backfill: No country shipping more than a thousand metric tons in this category offered any growth in May 2011; compared to the same time last year, Brazil’s 5,236 metric tons shows a 52.9% decline. Canada also takes a big tumble – 18.3% — at 2,135 metric tons, and China’s 2,947 metric tons reflects a 5.6% drop. Italy, the fifth-largest importer, offers the first positive news with 7.1% growth … but shipments of only 664 metric tons.

Emerson Schwartzkopf


You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at Stone Business Online.

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StatWatch: U.S. Stone Imports, December 2010

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.

All figures give are for December 2010 (change from December 2009 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).
 
WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total: $79.7 million (8.53%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $33.0 million (9.0%)

Backfill: December becomes the middling month in granite value for the recovery year of 2010; while Brazil advances from the end of 2009, the increase fails to reach the 33-percent climb seen in November 2010. India makes a strong showing at $12.4 million in customs value to show a 51-percent hike from December 2009 – but it only moves the country into third place.

China again shows a small decline – two percent – with its $18.5 million in value. And, Italy, at $10.1 million, doesn’t move much at all (-0.4 percent). The surprise of last year remains Saudi Arabia, going from sub-$100,000 months in 2009 to a strong finish of $811,052 in December 2010.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total:
156,213 metric tons (84.1%)
Sector leader: India @ 62,225 metric tons (499.8%)

Click to enlargeBackfill: Granite import values may be wishy-washy, but last December’s tonnage likely put a dent in U.S. docks. India dramatically reverses a second-half 2010 downward slide, sending more granite to the United States in December than in the previous four months combined. Brazil moves to #2 for the month, but its 42,123 metric tons are a 14.4-percent increase from December 2009.

China finishes a comparably weak second-half 2010 with 25,518 metric tons, down 2.9 percent from December 2009. Italy, meanwhile, posts its third-best month of 2010 with 20,174 metric tons, up 210.7 percent from the previous December.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total: $15.2 million (-7.1%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $6.5 million (-17.4%)

Backfill: Last December proves to be a lumpy flight for marble’s import values, as Italy’s decline accounts for falling farther behind 2009’s tepid pace. Spain also records a significant drop – $1.4 million, down 32.4 percent – from December 2009, while Israel freefalls to $89,278, a 73.3-percent decline.

December 2010 also shows some high points, though, as China sends $3.9 million in worked-marble value, up 23.8 percent from the previous December. Turkey bumps up its marble imports by 23.9 percent to $1.2 million, and Greece finishes 2010 in decent fashion with $439,149, up 37.1 percent from December 2009.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 14,125 metric tons (-0.8%)
Sector leader: China @ 5,309 metric tons (-1.5%)

Backfill: The lead for top worked-marble exporter to the United States changes hands again, as China ships 5,309 metric tons in December 2010. Sharp-eyed observers will also note that China increased worked-marble customs value while decreasing import volume, which means the country’s getting more for its stone at the end of last year.

Last December also finds few slouches as far as tonnage totals; Italy’s 3,652 metric tons offers a 1.6-percent increase while Turkey pumps up its shipments by 82.9 percent to 1,983 metric tons. Only Spain shows any major loss among the top exporters, with its 1,444 metric tons representing a 33.7-percent decline from December 2009.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total:
$17.8 million (2.5%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $11.5 million (8.2%)

Backfill: December 2010 shows the shipment values declining from major exporters, save the one that matters – Turkey, since it controls more than two-thirds (by value) of the U.S. travertine-import market. China makes some positive noise, moving up 29 percent from December 2009 to 914,412 metric tons.

Mexico still lags behind 2009, with last December’s nearly $3.2 million representing a 9.3-percent drop. Peru also fails to exceed December 2009, with $954,870 showing a 6.9-percent decrease. Italy finishes an up-and-down year on the down side, with its $714,213 behind December 2009 by 36.7  percent.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 28.281 metric tons (1.8%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 21,236 metric tons (1.9%)

Backfill: It’s not hard to see Turkey’s shipments to the United States keep near-exact pace with the total tonnage of travertine entering the country. For every four tons of travertine accepted at ports-of-entry, Turkey accounted for three of them in December 2010.

At 3,947 metric tons, the imports from Mexico in December 2010 mark the second-worst month of the year, but it still beats the end of 2009 by 1.7 percent. China manages a 59.5-percent boost to 976 metric tons; Peru’s 939 metric tons shows a 12.3-percent decline from December 2009. 

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total:
$6.3 million (-29.5%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $1.0 million (-33.7%)

Backfill: Even without the Lebanon Effect (and we’ll get to that soon enough), this category of limestone and other like stones remains a laggard for 2010. Long the leader, Italy may be surpassed soon by one of three other candidates with decent December 2010 showings: France ($835,645), China ($814,898) or Portugal ($779,273). China became the only one of the lot to post a gain from December 2009 at 36.1 percent.

Only two other countries with more than $200,000 of import values managed an annual gain in December 2010 – Mexico ($574,593; 22.7 percent) and Egypt ($342,491; 233.0 percent).

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 8,404 metric tons (-89.9%)
Sector leader: Portugal @ 1,549 metric tons (44.9%)

Backfill: The drastic drop-off is the result of the Lebanon effect; that Mideast country dominated the U.S. import market for other calcareous until last June, when it stopped shipping any of the stone here. However, even if Lebanon’s 71,483 metric tons in December 2009 is discounted, the imports in December 2010 still show a decline of 28.9 percent from the previous year.

The market’s not a total disaster in December 2010; besides Portugal’s upswing, the 1,298 metric tons from Italy offer a 77.6-percent gain from  the previous year, and Israel finds a place to pep up with 789 metric tons, a 163-percent improvement.

SLATE VALUE
Total:
$4.6 million (11.9%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.9 million (13.3%)

Backfill: China widens its lead over India in dimensional, non-roofing slate during December 2010, although both fall short of the $2-million values each racked up in November 2010.

Behind slate’s Big Two, December 2010 data show that Brazil ($433,442, up 52.2 percent from December 2009) and the United Kingdom ($292,128, up 107.1 percent) continue to gain interest.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at Stone Business Online.

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Granite makes big gains in 2010 U.S. imports

With initial reports in from the U.S. International Trade Commission on December 2010 imports, it’s possible to take a preliminary look at last year’s traffic in dimensional stone.

The following is an exclusive Stone Business analysis of data released Feb. 10, 2011, by  the U.S. International Trade Commission. “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).

With worked granite, the $956.8 million in 2010 customs values shows a 24.1-percent increase from 2009’s $770.1 million. It’s still far away, however, from the peak year of 2006 and its $1.53 billion.

Brazil topped the charts in 2010 worked granite value at $413.9 million, making a  45.3-percent recovery from the previous year. China placed second at $215.7 million with an ever-so-slight decline from 2009 of 0.3 percent; India moved ahead of Italy into third, as the countries posted $134.8 million  (+35 percent) and $121.2 million (+15.3 percent), last year, respectively.

In volume, the 1.61-million metric tons of worked granite brought to the United States last year marked a 43.4-percent increase from 2009. While that came close to 2008’s 1.71 million metric tons, it’s still far from the record mark of 2.63-million metric tons in 2006.

Brazil also held a commanding top position in 2010 U.S. granite imports by volume, with its 677,857 metric tons representing a 52.8-percent rise from 2009. China remained in second place with 367,600 metric tons – a 22-percent increase from 2009 – while India raised its U.S. presence by 62 percent to 316,957 metric tons last year.

Worked marble didn’t fare as well in 2010; the $189.3 million in customs value represented a slight 2.6-percent decline from 2009, caused mainly by lower totals from Italy and Greece. And it’s a long ways from the top of the market in 2007, with total U.S. import values of $318.6 million.

In volume, however, worked marble turned around, with the 169,831 metric tons for 2010 showing a 1.6-percent increase from the previous year. China kept the #1 position it gained in 2009 in marble tonnage, with its 55,341 metric tons outweighing Italy’s 45,291 metric tons. Of the four U.S. trade partners – China, Italy, Turkey and Spain – shipping more than 10,000 metric tons of worked marble, all showed increases from 2009.

U.S. imports in travertine also experienced small gains for 2010; the $247.3 million in value made for a 1.1-percent increase from 2009, while the 457,610 metric tons shipped marked a 7.4-percent improvement. Much of this came as Turkey ramped up production; its 347,150 metric tons last year yielded a 12.1-percent growth from 2009.

For other calcareous stone, 2010 will be the year of Lebanon’s vanishing act. Import values fell by 21.8 percent from 2009 totals to settle at $90.8 million, while volume plummeted by a staggering 47.7 percent to 348,284 metric tons, as the Mideast country disappeared from the import market after last May.

The catch-all category of other stone managed some good news with its mixed haul; the 2010 U.S. import values of $223 million marked a 9.3 percent gain, with Brazil repeating its #1 performance with $72.9 million (up 22.5 percent from 2009). Other stone volume through U.S. ports-of-entry increased by 14.4 percent in 2010 to 281,851 metric tons, with Brazil taking the top spot with 100,173 metric tons.

Slate, meanwhile, puttered along in 2010 to post U.S. import values of $56.7 million – down a mere 0.8 percent from the previous year. Import leaders China ($23.8 million) and India ($22.4 million) suffered declines in 2010; Brazil, farther back at $4.6 million, nevertheless recovered by 15.9 percent from a disastrous 2009.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

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