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Stone Update Today – April 3, 2013

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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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U.S. Stone Imports, August 2011

Marble, travertine and other calcareous stone remain strong through the summer. Granite, however, is lagging.

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 August 2011 (change from August 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: $96.1 million (-3.7%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $40.7 million (-7.0%)

Backfill: The heady growth of early summer in granite imports is fizzling out; besides Brazil’s slowdown in customs values, China’s $19.8 million is a 7.8% decline from August 2010. India manages to step up by 9.9% to $16.3 million, while Italy’s loss is marginal (-0.9%) at  $11.9 million.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 115,729 metric tons (-36.0%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 47,627 metric tons (-51.7%)

Backfill: Tonnage totals fall for most countries during a month that often shows large gains in a year. China’s 28,437 metric tons is 35.8% less than the previous August; Italy shows a 20.9% drop with 8,094 metric tons. Only India gains among granite’s Big Four, with 21,289 metric tons representing a 13.8% rise..

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total: $23.8 million (18.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $11.3 million (26.4%)

Backfill: It’s a happy time for marble with double-digit growth in customs values, fueled mainly by Italy and an on-the-rebound Turkey with $2.5 million, up 80.7% from August 2010. China ($4.5 million, up 7.2%) and Spain ($2.3 million, up 10.0%) also pitch in to boost the market.

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 20,408 metric tons (17.3%)
Sector leader: China @ 6,558 metric tons (20.3%)

Backfill: The double figures aren’t dipping in marble tonnage, either. China moves back into first place, but Italy trails closely with 6,013 metric tons, up 21.1% from the previous August. Turkey makes a strong recovery at 2,611 metric tons (up 40.4%); Spain gains some ground at 2,484 metric tons (up 2.8%).

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $26.0 million (16.5%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $17.1 million (18.9%)

Backfill: Everybody pitches in to improve from August 2010, from Turkey to Mexico ($4.6 million. up 12.5%) to Italy ($1.4 million, up 22.6%) to China ($1.3 million, up 10.2%). While Peru didn’t make the million-dollar club, the $882K in value beats the previous August by 14.3%.

TRAVERTINE VOLUME
Total: 52,082 metric tons (38.2%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 38,382 metric tons (36.9%)

Backfill: Close your eyes and it’s 2005 again, with a growth curve headed for Mars, with Italy showing a 54.8% gain from August 2010 at 1,286 metric tons and Peru scoring a 18.3% gain at 885 metric tons. Mexico, however, takes a 8.3% step down at 5,240 metric tons. And, like Canada last month, China gets a mysterious inflation of shipments – from 1,679 metric tons this July to 5,706 metric tons a month later.

OTHER CALCAREOUS VALUE
Total: $8.6 million (1.9%)
Sector leader: China @ $1.3 million (38.6%)

Backfill: It’s another round of musical chairs for this sector, with China taking the lead again with Italy a close second at $1.2 million (down 4.0% from August 2010). All the other countries dip below the seven-figure mark; last month’s front-runner, Portugal slips to $991K (down 1.6% from the previous August). Meanwhile, it’s double-digit annual growth for France ($891K, 14.2%) and Spain ($855K, up 21.6%).

OTHER CALCAREOUS VOLUME
Total: 8,433 metric tons (10.0%)
Sector leader: China @ 1,457 metric tons (60.3%)

Backfill: The rollercoaster brings Canada to the fore with 1,009 metric tons, up 149.1% from August 2010, while Portugal drops to 802 metric tons (down 16.7%). Pakistan, with 1,065 metric tons shipped this July, sends just 45 metric tons in the next month; and Mexico, with two 9,000+ metric-ton months earlier this year, accounts for only 485 metric tons in August.

SLATE VALUE
Total: $5.3 million (-11.7%)
Sector leader: China @ $2.5 million (-3.1%)

Backfill: Slate’s up-and-down year hits the down button, with India’s $1.9 million adding up to a 20.4% decline from the previous August. The United Kingdom also hits the skids this year, going from a high of $352K in March to only $26K this August. Brazil provides welcome contrary relief with a 5.9% gain from August 2010 with its $560K.

OTHER STONE VALUE
Total: $16.8 million (-26.1%)
Sector leader: India @ $5.1 million (-26.5%)

Backfill: Beating August 2010 comes easily for China ($2.9 million, up 49.2%) and Italy ($1.8 million, up 37.8%), but they can’t offset losses from sector leader India and Brazil ($3.3 million, down 58.2%). Canada’s positive position from this July turns round in the following month, with its $1.4 million falling 18.7% behind the previous August.

OTHER STONE VOLUME
Total: 19,071 metric tons (-35.0%)
Sector leader: India @ 6,096 metric tons (-28.6%)

Backfill: China offers the only shard of good news in August, with its 3,680 metric tons beating the previous year by 21.9%. Otherwise, the performances range from dismal (Canada, 1,946 metric tons, down 11.4%) to painful (Brazil, 3,774 metric tons, down 64.9%).


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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, 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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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.

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.