VERONA, Italy – The worldwide perspective on dimensional stone seems to be brighter, according to one longtime observer of the industry.

Data on quarrying and finishing shows that the stone trade experienced a mostly 2010, as noted in the XXII World Stone Industry Report, prepared by Italian journalist/statistician Carlo Montani.

250 MarmomaccQuarrying and processing worldwide increased by 6.7% in volume, while trade grew by 18%, resuming the positive trend halted in 2008-2009, Montani noted in a presentation during the Marmomacc stone event in Verona late last month. The largest share belonged to Asia – especially China, which alone covers almost 30% of world production.

The results for Italy aren’t so sunny in the report; 2010 exports grew by 10.9% from the previous year, but driven mainly by shipments of unfinished materials (including slabs). The export growth for processed materials was no more than 4%.

Italian exports of machinery for marble and stones, however, proved to be surprisingly strong at €613 million in 2010, offering a strong 56% recovery when compared to the previous two years.

Italian tooling also posted good numbers – including diamond tools and abrasives – with revenues of €200 million in 2010.

Montani suggested that the future trend in the stone sector will be constant growth in the long-term, similar to that seen in the years prior to the recession. In this regard, the sector proved to be one of the most reactive and capable of sustaining recovery in an overall economic background still experiencing difficulties.

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