Tag Archives: other calcareous

U.S. Stone Imports, November 2011

Granite imports steady to November 2010 levels, while marble, travertine and slate show gains.

StatWatch is a snapshot of U.S. dimensional-stone imports, offering a summary and exclusive Stone Update 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 November 2011 (change from November 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:
$88.2 million (8.3%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $38.3 million (2.3%)

Backfill: Customs values continue to look good for granite, although much of the growth from November ’10 comes from China ($19.0 million, up 18.7%) and India ($12.6 million, up 23.9%). One big surprise: Italy, with its premium-priced granites, slips 2.3% to $11.4 million.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 109,257 metric tons (-0.4%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 55,717 metric tons (-4.2%)

Backfill: It’s a nominal overall loss, with China (24,030 metric tons, up (8.1%) and India (15.147 metric tons, up 17.7%) shoring up Brazil’s dip. Italy, meanwhile, drops 31.3% from November ’10 with 6,911 metric tons; the country hasn’t broken the 10K monthly mark yet in 2011.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total:
$20.0 million (26.2%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $9.7 million (15.4%)

Backfill: While the top four shippers to U.S. ports-of-entry – Italy, China, Spain and Turkey – show double-digit value growth from November ’10, Spain continues its resurgence with $2.4 million, up 65.8%. Turkey and China both show 10% gains from the previous November.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 16,591 metric tons (28.0%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 5,334 metric tons (20.7%)

Backfill: Yet another good month of growth from most of the big exporters; China’s 4,530 metric tons is a 33.1% boost from November ’10, while Spain continues to amaze with a 51.6% gain at 2,473 metric tons. Only Turkey takes a tumble, down 7.1% to 1,726 metric tons.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total:
$22.1 million (16.4%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $15.3 million (26.4%)

Backfill: Turkey continues to outstrip 2010 totals, but the drag here is China; the $540,123 in November ’11 is 27% less than the previous year. Mexico offers a 9.1% gain at $3.9 million, while Italy’s $1.2 million is within a few thousand dollars of November ’10 totals.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 44,844 metric tons (38.9%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 31,808 metric tons (41.2%)

Backfill: November ’11 becomes a boom time for the top three exporters to the United States; besides Turkey, Mexico scores a 57.1% increase from the previous year at 7,241 metric tons, while Peru’s 2,878 metric tons tops November ’10 by 244.3%. China, meanwhile, drops 50.5% to 1,468 metric tons, and Italy falls 11.3% to 720 metric tons.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $8.0 million (9.1%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.4 million (73.4%)

Backfill: Yet more volatility plagues this category; France increases 41.4% from November ’10 with $931,947 and Portugal moves up 16.1% with $831,795. Italy, meanwhile, drops 24.3% to $1.2 million, and Spain plummets 31.5% with $516,122. Mexico’s $536,167 shows a 5.9% decline.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 10,230 metric tons (-4.0%)
Sector leader: United Kingdom @ 1,591 metric tons (2,691.2%)

Backfill: The obvious joker in the deck for November ’11 is the United Kingdom; from January-October last year, the country shipped only 35 metric tons. The British stone makes up from losses from some major exporters, including France (1,366 metric tons, down 34.7%) and Portugal (840 metric tons, down 20.4%). China, meanwhile, improves 60.2% with 1,530 metric tons.

SLATE VALUE
Total: $5.0 million (2.2%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.8 million (-11.0%)

Backfill: Sector leader China and second-place India ($1.2 million, down 37.9%) post losses from November ’10, along with the United Kingdom ($160,072, down 42.2%). Canada may offer an anomaly (up (2,097.3%) with its $934,994, but it’s a welcome one; Brazil also takes a great leap up at $512,084, up 84.8%.


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StatWatch: U.S. Stone Imports, July 2011

Travertine and other calcareous stone post import numbers that clearly beat last July. Unfortunately, it’s a different situation with granite.

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 July 2011 (change from July 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: $99.3 million (-0.4%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $42.9 million (-3.1%)

Backfill: July and August form the peak of annual granite imports; after a five-month trend of value increases in 2011, the slowdown this July isn’t exactly good news. Of granite’s Big Four, India saves the month with $18.1 million, up 38.7% from last July. Both China ($20.8 million, down 7.1%) and Italy ($10.4 million, down 17.1%) take a tumble.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total:
125,442 metric tons (-9.2%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 51,118 metric tons (-19.7%)

Backfill: China and India provide the support for actual granite slab/tile imports. China’s 34,329 metric tons represents a 10.9% lift from last July, and India ramps up 15.4% to 23.023 metric tons. A decade ago, Italy dominated this sector; July’s 8,491 metric tons lags behind last year by 44.1%.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total:
$21.5 million (7.5%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $10.4 million (25.4%)

Backfill: Marble import values hold on for July, with Italy posting a major boost. China wavers from a year ago ($3.7 million, down 6.3%), but easily keeps second. A surprising Spain surges to third ($2.4 million, up 15.5%) past a sliding Turkey ($2.2 million, down 13%).

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total:
16,501 metric tons (-4.8%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 5,397 metric tons (1.3%)

Backfill: There’s something about July and marble imports; it’s the month that Italy leads the sector and China drops to second. This year, China does it again with 4,461 metric tons (down 3.3%). Coupled with Turkey’s fall-off (2,096 metric tons, down 10.7%), the two countries essentially account for the sector’s decline from last July.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $25.8 million (10.3%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $16.7 million (8.8%)

Backfill: Happy times all around here, as the four members of the million-dollar club for import values – Turkey, Mexico, China and Italy – show increases from July 2010. China also breaks out of a 2011 funk with $1.4 million in July, its first million-dollar month since January. Peru posts a respectable $866K, although that’s a $130K drop from the previous month and 18.3% less than last July.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 52,499 metric tons (34.3%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 35,134 metric tons (25.3%)

Backfill: It’s the best month in more than a year, although the gains from last July come from lopsided shipments. Of the regular leaders, only Turkey and Mexico (8,435 metric tons, up 36.4%) are ahead of the same time in 2010; volume is down drastically from China (-20.6%), Peru (-25.2%) and Italy (-23.0%). The wild card is Canada, with its 5,010 metric tons toting up a 1,485.4% increase from last July. (FYI: Canada’s June 2011 across-the-border shipments of travertine came to an exciting 12 – yes, twelve – metric tons.)

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $8.1 million (2.3%)
Sector leader: Portugal @ $1.4 million (96.9%)

Backfill: The sector remains volatile; Portugal moves from fourth to first, while Italy, last July’s leader, slips to fifth at $780K (down 36.2%). China keeps second with $1.2 million (up 7.5%), with Spain retaining third at $889K (up 2.2%). France moves up into fourth at $809K with a dramatic 100.2% increase.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total:
9,946 metric tons (2,8%)
Sector leader: Mexico @ 1,897 metric tons (105.7%)

Backfill: Mexico’s massive shipments to the United States are tapering off, but other countries pick up the slack in July; China’s 1,402 metric tons is 30.7% better than the same time last year, and Portugal makes a 76.1% jump with 1,240 metric tons. The wild card is Pakistan, going from a tally of exactly one metric ton passing through U.S. ports-of-entry this April to July’s 1,065 metric tons (and a 1,110.2% rocket ride from July 2010).

SLATE VALUE
Total:
$5.7 million (5.1%)
Sector leader: China @ $2.7 million (-7.3%)

Backfill: Increases in import values from other countries offset China’s down month; second-place India posts $1.8 million in July, up 12.4% from the same time last year. Brazil, still a distant third, still pushes ahead of July 2010 by 14.0% at $531K. Spain provides a surprise with $186K, a 435.5% leap from last July.

OTHER STONE VALUE
Total:
$17.5 million (-30.5%)
Sector leader: India @ $5.3 million (-28.6%)

Backfill: Canada continues as this year’s bright spot for this catchall category of stone imports – but when a 1.9% annual increase (at $2.2 million) to retain fourth place among exporters to the U.S. is the sole good news, it’s not exactly uplifting. Second-place Brazil sees the nose dropping a bit more ($4.4 million, down 49.1%) and China slides 12.1% to $2.3 million. Italy turns course again this year, with July’s $1.1 million translating to a 37.3% decline.

OTHER STONE VOLUME
Total: 19,979 metric tons (-37.0%)
Sector leader: India @ 5,973 metric tons (-29.7%)

Backfill: A brutal month when compared to 2010. Of the top nine countries in the category, only South Africa (at 470 metric tons) shows an increase from a year ago – and that’s because it didn’t ship a single ounce of the stuff in July 2010. Brazil takes a giant step (58.5%) down from last July at 4,983 metric tons. It may be damning with faint praise, but here’s a positive: this July represents the second best month of 2011 for the category.

Emerson Schwartzkopf


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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.

Get the latest on what’s going in the stone industry with THE FULL BULLNOSE, the twice-a-month e-newsletter from Stone Business! It’s free for the asking – sign up here.

The advertisements that appear on this page are placed by wordpress.com, and constitute no endorsement of the products or services. And I don’t get a dime from them, either.

StatWatch: U.S. Stone Imports, March 2011

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 March 2011 (change from March 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).

WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total:
$66.5 million (5.2%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $31.8 million (27.1%)

Backfill: Take the good news and run with it, as India also makes a major move in March 2011 with $10.8 million (up 25.2% from last year). After that, worked-granite values get a bit rugged: China, $9.5 million (down 35.0%); Italy ($8.9 million, down 2.3%); Canada ($1.9 million, down 12.3%); Taiwan ($1.3 million, down 17.0%); Spain ($945,151, down 3.7%). It takes that long to find the next positive, with Saudi Arabia moving up 25.2% to $503,059.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 76,680 metric tons (-15.8%)
Sector leader: Brazil @  38,709 metric tons (21.4%)

Backfill: India offered the drag-anchor this February in curbing slab/tile granite shipments. In March, it’s China, with its 11,610 metric tons representing a 65.5% dive from last year (and a big swoon from this January’s 41,770 metric tons). India turns directions again, moving up 7.3% from last March with 13,756 metric tons; Italy, meanwhile, stays relatively steady at $5,969 (down only 1.2%).

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total:
$14.5 million (1.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $7.3 million (31.1%)

Backfill: The better news in marble slabs/tiles comes with volume, although most of the major exporters offer some positives in value; Spain grows by 10.3% from last March at $1.8 million, and Turkey gets a 13.5% lift to $1.5 million. It’s China that takes the sizzle down to the fizzle, dropping 33.5% to $2.08 million and recording its worst month in worked-marble values in two years ($2.04 million, March 2009).

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total:
14,543 metric tons (5.4%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 4,664 metric tons (85.5%)

Backfill: Italy’s gain comes at China’s expense; after leading the category for four months running, China’s 2,474 metric tons in March 2011 marks a 41.1% slide from the previous year. Spain peps up its U.S. shipments from March 2010 by 19.8% with 2,335 metric tons, while fourth-place Turkey manages to match last year’s total – 1,858 metric tons – right on the button this March.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $22.0 million (4.7%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $14.9 million (11.7%)

Backfill: This sector goes wherever Turkey takes it, and this month the direction is up. The increase in custom values comes in spite of declines from second-place Mexico ($4.4 million, down 3.5% from March 2010) and #3 Italy $918,807 (down 28.7%). As is often the case with stone imports, though, changes in value don’t turn into less volume.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 38,411 metric tons (9.9%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 29,232 metric tons (7.3%)

Backfill: Turkey gets a hand from most of the countries exporting travertine to the United States this month. Mexico increases shipments for the third month in a row (5,720 metric tons, up 12.2% from March 2010), and Peru’s 820 metric tons shows a 10.4% boost from last year. At 1,434 metric tons in March 2011, China scores a 193.3% increase from a low point last year … but down sharply from its shipments this February.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $7.6 million (-13.7%)
Sector leader: Portugal @ $1.07 million (0.3%)

Backfill: In two months, the usual notation about the mysterious disappearance of Lebanon from the market will disappear – but, until then, this is a sector where comparisons to 2010 hold dubious value. Portugal barely edges out Italy’s $1.03 million in March 2011; however, Italy also takes a 40.9% dive from last year. Mexico makes a nice recovery at $926,771 (up 38.4%). China’s $764,027, meanwhile looks good when compared to March 2011 (up 8.5%), but it’s far short of the country’s $1.1 million from this February.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 15,875 metric tons (-77.7%)
Sector leader: Mexico @ 9,558 metric tons (1,647.3%)

Backfill: The best guess here is that somebody north of Nuevo Laredo really loves Mexican limestone; last year, the country rarely shipped more than 500 metric tons a month of other calcareous across the border. Without the Mexican bonanza, this category’s tonnage would reach near-mortal losses; #2 Spain weighs in at 1,063 metric tons (up 40.2% from March 2010). Point of interest in 2011: In February, China cut its tonnage to half of its January total … and did the same halving act from February to March.

SLATE VALUE
Total: $3.9 million (5.7%)
Sector leader: India @ $2.0 million (33.4%)

Backfill: After perking along as the market leader for the last 10 months, China hits the brakes; the $866,028 for this March is a 32.6% drop from a year ago. Along with sector leader India, the United Kingdom ($352,541, up 182.5%) helps to pick up the slack.

OTHER STONE VALUE
Total: $12.3 million (-23.8%)
Sector leader: India @ $4.5 million (-17.4%)

Backfill: This omnibus (i.e., “what’s left”) category used to be so moribund that it didn’t seem worth tracking. Now it’s an up-and-down journey, and this month’s it’s down. All the million-dollar-plus importers take the fall: Brazil (-51.0%), China (-20.3%), Canada (-42.6%) and Italy (-1.7%, and enough to knock it down to under $1 million).

OTHER STONE VOLUME
Total: 14,909 metric tons (-25.56%)
Sector leader: India @ 5,595 metric tons (-19.2%)

Backfill: When the top three importing countries to the United States fall off in shipments, the whole category’s going to slump. Brazil’s 2,867 metric tons (-57.0% from last March) is the worst since 2009; China also falls by 11.6 % to 1,538 metric tons. Turkey, at 1,284 metric tons, manages to far surpass last March – which isn’t hard, given the paltry 113 metric tons from a year ago.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

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

The advertisements that appear on this page are placed by wordpress.com, and constitute no endorsement of the products or services. And I don’t get a dime from them, either.

StatWatch February 2011: Short Month, Smaller Numbers

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 February 2011 (change from February 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).
 
WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total: $51.4 million (8.0%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $18.4 million (26.5%)

Backfill: Sharp-eyed readers of StatWatch online will see February’s performance as a major dip from January 2011’s $73.7 million – but February always tends to show a decline from the first month of the year. It’s winter, construction work is slow … and the second month is also the shortest.
Granite’s big four made some progress between the Februaries, with China ($15.6 million, up 4.4 percent from 2010) and Italy ($5.7 million, up 4 percent) showing an uptick. India, meanwhile, comes in at $8.4 million, down 10.5 percent from the previous February.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 59,115 metric tons (-40.8%)
Sector leader: Brazil @  21,491 metric tons (20.5%)

Backfill: So why does February look like a disaster as far as granite slab/tile tonnage? The culprit’s India; February 2010 accounted for 53,222 metric tons, marking the country’s second-best month of the year. This February, India’s U.S. shipments are 10,540 metric tons – an 80.2-percent drop-off.
Italy didn’t fare very well either this February, marking a 13.8-percent decline from 2010 at 4,049 metric tons. The good news came from the top two – Brazil, as the sector leader, and China bumping up volume by 3 percent to 19,328 metric tons.
Remember Canada, the wunderkind of this January at 21,139 metric tons? Advance one month, and the shipments fall to a regular 894 metric tons.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total: $11.4 million (6.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $4 million (8.6%)

Backfill: As far as import values, marble is getting a sunny start to 2011; of the four top importing countries, three of them (Italy, China, Turkey) show improvement from last year. China’s $3 million in February 2011 is 9.3-percent up from the same time last year; Turkey gets a huge bump-up of 40 percent at $1.5 million.
That leaves one market leader – Spain – with a different tale. The February 2011 value of $1.2 million leaves a 9.4-percent shortfall from 2010. The remainder of the marble-importing countries offer mixed results – Portugal and Greece are up, while India, Egypt, Israel and Pakistan are down – but the top four represent 84 percent of U.S. worked-marble shipment value.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 11,310 metric tons (14.5%)
Sector leader: China @ 4,664 metric tons (24.8%)

Backfill: No buts or howevers to qualify this category; marble slab/tile tonnage coming across U.S. ports of entry improves overall, and for the four-biggest supplying countries, from February 2010. China maintains its lead, and Italy (2,208 metric tons, up 15.8 percent) keeps its second-place standing.
Turkey, meanwhile, shows the biggest gain – 29.9 percent – with its 1,773 metric tons in February 2011, and may show a serious challenge to Italy for the second spot. Spain’s 1,631 metric tons show a slight 2.6 percent raise from last year.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $18.5 million (-3.8%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $12.6 million (-0.3%)

Backfill: When changes in statistics are barely noticeable – as with Turkey’s less-than-a-percent dip – one term for defining this is frictional. Another that’s a lot less scientific is running in place. In other words, there’s not much happening.
The big changes come later in the order; second-place Mexico slips 4.8 percent from last year with $3.7 million in February 2011 import values. However, that’s up from January 2011’s $2.6 million, which could portend some welcome gains in coming months. China’s going the other way, with the $795,864 from February representing a 26.8-percent drop from last year – and a big dip from January 2011’s $1.1 million.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 29,613 metric tons (-11.9%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 22,595 metric tons (-16.9%)

Backfill: It’s time for the hoary old cliché of mixed bag here, as the tallies from the docks indicate … well, confusion. Turkey’s massive presence drives the whole sector down, but only one other country among the leaders shows a decline from February 2010: Peru, down 15.2 percent at 556 metric tons.
Mexico’s going the other way, with a 3.4-percent increase from last year at 4,184 metric tons (and a nice increase from January 2011’s 3,235 metric tons). China ramps up dramatically with its 1,662 metric tons translating to a 76.6-percent increase from the previous February – as well as a 400,000 metric-ton bump from January 2011’s tally. 

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $5.8 million (1.2%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.1 million (44.6%)

Backfill: Compare those gains from February 2011 in other calcareous import values – the entire sector and the new leader, China – and you’ll understand the wild ride taken by the market. Portugal, for example, swings into a strong second at $712,526 (up 21.8 percent from February 2010) while Italy tumbles from first to third with $654,559 and a 48.4-percent drop from last year. Spain’s $582,732 marks a 133.2-percent gain from a year ago, while Turkey takes a 37.4-percent header at $430,365.
Just where this category is headed remains unclear in the value category. While overall values are up from a year ago, the February 2011 totals are significantly lower than the $7.5 million posted last month. It’s interesting that out of the top seven countries in January 2011, only one – China – shows an increase one month later.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 16,683 metric tons (-43.9%)
Sector leader: Mexico @ 9,814 metric tons (2,365.8%)

Backfill: Welcome to the funhouse created by Lebanon, a that country’s shipments of other calcareous flooded the market for several years – and then, last May, the Lebanese stone quit coming. The result is a mess where market leaders pop up as randomly as lotto balls at a drawing. In February, the top supplier is Mexico, and the massive growth percentage is correct; a year ago, shipments totaled only 347 metric tons.
It’ll take a few more months until the Lebanon Effect, along with a couple of abnormal totals from other countries, clear the system and make the market situation clearer.  Until then, it’s baffling.

SLATE VALUE
Total: $4 million (8.3%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.8 million (42.7%)

Backfill: China continues to outpace its slate rival, India, which sees its import values drop 22.5 percent from February 2010 to $1.3 million. It’s still a long way down – more than an million dollars – to third-place Brazil and its $325,539 (which represents a rare, if very small, drop of 0.3 percent from last year).

Emerson Schwartzkopf

©2011 Western Business Media Inc.

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StatWatch: Jumping Up In January ‘11

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 January 2011 (change from January 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).
 
WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total: $73.7 million (9.2%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $32.5 million (14.9%)

Backfill: Brazil remains as the #1 player in U.S. worked-granite imports, providing 44 percent of total import values in January. However, that $32.5 million also represents the sixth straight month of decline from last July’s $44.2 million.
The remainder of granite’s Big Four shows a reasonably good start to 2011 – China at $18.2 million (up 7.8 percent) and Italy at $9 million (up 4.1 percent). India notches a decline from January 2010, but its $8.6-million total for this January is only a 1.6-percent dip.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 126,891 metric tons (54.5%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 41,881 metric tons (27.9%)

800_jan11_granite

Backfill: When import tonnage increases by half-again for a stone, there’s usually a bogey in the mix; this time, it’s Canada. This is no diss to our friendly neighbors to the North, but the 21,139 metric tons shown for January is a 1,982.7-percent blast-off from January 2010 totals – and not that far behind the 2010 total of  27,568 metric tons Canada sent south.
The hot story for 2011 in granite imports may be the heavy loads of Chinese containers; the January shipment of 41,770 metric tons is a 55.7-percent leap from the previous January, and only 111 metric tons below first-place Brazil. India keeps relatively stable at 11,095 metric tons (down 0.7 percent), while Italy drops 9.1 percent to 5,860 metric tons.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total:
$14.4 million (-4.7%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $6.1 million (7.6%)

Backfill: You can’t say that January is any change from the previous month. Seriously. Both January 2011 and December 2010 are at $14.4 million; at least this January shows less of a 12-month dip than last December.
Along with Italy’s improvement, Turkey offers some good news; its $1.4 million in worked-marble import value is 17.8 percent of last year’s start. Not so for others with U.S. imports of $1-million-plus; China’s $3.7 million is 8.2 percent behind January 2010, and Spain takes a 28.9-percent tumble to $1.3 million.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 13,466 metric tons (-7.0%)
Sector leader: China @ 4,874 metric tons (-18.5%)

Backfill: China retains its lead in worked-marble shipments to the United States, albeit losing a large chunk of margin to Italy; its 3,514 metric tons represents a 9.7-percent increase from January 2010.
Turkey shores up its third-place status with 1,817 metric tons in January (up 28.9 percent), ahead of Spain’s 1,526 metric tons (down 22.7 percent). Spanish exporters don’t need to fear dropping another notch anytime soon; fifth-place Greece shows a 15.8-percent annual gain in January, but with only a total of 249 metric tons shipped to the United States.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $19.7 million (12.0%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $14.2 million (14.7%)

Backfill: Turkey remains the unchallenged market leader in U.S. travertine imports, whether it’s in value or tonnage. And, while they continue a two-thirds domination of the market here, Turkish producers received some help in lifting values past January 2010 levels.
Mexico improves its second-place position in January 2011 values at $2.6 million, up 2.8 percent from last year’s start. China, meanwhile, boosts its U.S. travertine values by 49.6 percent to $1.1 million, helping to offset the first-month declines of Italy ($654,335, down 12.6 percent) and Peru ($612,368, down 10.1 percent).

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 33,759 metric tons (7.1%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 27,823 metric tons (5.9%)

800_jan11_travertine

Backfill: Travertine shipments remain strong, with Turkey taking its usual lead to begin 2011. However, the overall total shows better growth than Turkey’s production alone, indicating some growth in exports from other countries.
Mexico’s 3,235 metric tons in January 2011 offers a 14.8-percent hike from last year’s beginning, but the big boom comes with China’s 1,261 metric tons representing a 54.9-percent rise. Italy’s 468 metric tons in January made for a 34.1-percent gain; only Peru reverses course, with an 18.6-percent decline at 561 metric tons. 

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $7.5 million (2.9%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $1.2 million (-22.7%)

Backfill: When the lead country sending a stone to the United States takes a 20-percent-plus tumble in its import value, the entire sector often takes a dive with it. For this non-marble category, however, other suppliers pick up the pace in January.
Portugal, at $1 million, increases its shipment values from January 2010 by 49.3 percent to whip by China and France for second place. France is no slouch either, pumping up the levels of last January by 41.9 percent to reach $856,039; however, that’s only good enough for fourth, as China places third at $954,137 (a paltry 2.4 percent ahead of last year’s level). Other strong gainers in the $500K+ range are Spain ($655,787, up 76.9 percent) and Turkey ($553,697, up 11.7 percent).

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total:
8,448 metric tons (-89.9%)
Sector leader: China @ 2,599 metric tons (7.1%)

Backfill: The terrible comparison with January 2010 is the result of the imports of Lebanon; the country made up more than three-quarters of all U.S. other-calcareous tonnage before disappearing from the market last May. So, let’s cut out Lebanon’s 45,365 metric tons from last January, along with a combined 5,802 metric tons in one-month-wonder shipments from the Philippines and India. That brings January 2010 down to 9,148 metric tons, making the difference with this January a more-realistic -7.6 percent.
Along with China’s gains, Italy increases its first-month totals by 19.5 percent to 1,074 metric tons; Spain’s 669 metric tons shows a 11-percent gain. On the down side, consider Portugal (877 metric tons, -6.1 percent), Turkey (589 metric tons, -51.4 percent) and France (494 metric tons, -20.0 percent).

SLATE VALUE
Total: $4.7 million (50%)
Sector leader: China @ $2.0 million (13.2%)

Backfill: China opens up a slightly longer lead on India in January 2011, although that’s due more to the latter country’s 5.5-percent decline (with $1.7 million in import value) from the beginning of last year.
The distant third- and fourth-place shippers of non-roofing slate continue to make good gains. Brazil, at $450,582, moves up 24.7 percent from January 2010, while the United Kingdom’s $243,029 marks a 93.5-percent leap.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

Get the best in insightful and informed coverage of the stone industry every month with Stone Business magazine. Sign up for a free subscription (or renew your current account) and don’t miss a single issue – just click here.

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.

Get the best in insightful and informed coverage of the stone industry every month with Stone Business magazine. Sign up for a free subscription (or renew your current account) and don’t miss a single issue – just click here.

The advertisements that appear on this page are placed by wordpress.com, and constitute no endorsement of the products or services. And I don’t get a dime from them, either.