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All stone categories tracked by U.S. Customs show an increase in shipments from August 2011. It's been a long time to have good news like this, especially in the busy summer months of construction.
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 given are for August 2012 (change from August 2011 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: $108.2 million (+12.3%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $50.3 million (+23.7%)
Backfill: The counter to Brazil’s exuberance is China, which records its third month running of value decline in 2012 and offers modest growth to $20.7 million (+4.5%) from last year. India slips slightly (-1.2%) to $16.1 million, while Italy continues with better values at $12.8 million (+7.2%). Canada and Taiwan post better than $2 million for August 2012, and Spain’s $1.7 million is 86.2% ahead of last year.
WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 160,005 metric tons (+38.3%)
Sector leader: China @ 64,231 metric tons (+125.9%)
Backfill: China’s blockbuster total is the biggest for the country since June 2008, and the fifth-highest month ever. Brazil moves into a surprising second place despite its own shipments of 60,028 metric tons (+26.0%). The other two in granite’s Big Four – India and Italy – drop to metric tonnage of 18,941 (-11.0%) and 7,695 (-4.9%), respectively. Canada looks good at 3,352 metric tons (+11.7%), and Spain peps up with 2,358 metric tons (+65.1%).
WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total: $28.5 million (+19.7%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $15.0 million (+32.9%)
Backfill: China comes down in value at $4.2 million (-7.2%) and Turkey’s $2.4 million is a -5.4% decline from 2011 – although it’s also the country’s best month this year. Spain looks better at $2.6 million (+15.0%), and Greece powers up with $1.3 million (+73.8%).
WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 21,491 metric tons (+5.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 8,083 metric tons (+34.4%)
Backfill: Not as spectacular as July as ups-and-downs abound, with China keeping second place at 5,181 metric tons despite a 21.0% decline from August 2011. Turkey also declines 6.7% from last year with 2,436 metric tons (but still the best month yet in 2012). Spain moves up to 2,631 metric tons – a +5.9% lift from last year, and the best month for U.S. shipments since August 2008. Mexico, meanwhile, went from 1,025 metric tons in July this year to 174 metric tons in August.
Total: $24.7 million (-4.8%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $16.4 million (-4.2%)
Backfill: Joining Turkey on the downslope is Mexico at $3.6 million (-22.5%) and China, which moves farther back into six-figure territory at $664,996 (-24.7%). Italy continues to revive, up 46.2% at $2.1 million (its best month since November 2008) and Peru posts positive at $1.2 million (+37.8%).
Total: 56,887 metric tons (+9.2%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ 47,310 metric tons (+23.3)
Backfill: The sector’s improvement stalls after Turkey’s big advance, with metric-ton losses by Mexico at 4,441 (-15.2%) and China at 783 (-86.3%). The biggest step up may be a one-off, however, as Honduras ships 1,249 metric tons this August, up from six metric tons in 2011 ... for a year-to-year advance of 20,716.7%.