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Editor, Stone Business

Good gains continue with granite and marble as the import market begins to recover. Travertine looks static, other calcareous is weak, and slate suffers from China dropping its export of the stone by a third.

The following is an exclusive Stone Business analysis of data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission. All figures give are for May 2010 (change from May 2009 amounts in parentheses). “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.

em hed shot 2 120Worked Granite Value
Total: $83.3 million (27.1%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $35.7 million (63.0%)
Backfill: It looks like a trend; Brazil keeps getting stronger, the values increase overall, and China takes another hit (down 7%, but still solidly in second place).

Worked Granite Volume
Total: 152,067 metric tons (51.8%)
Sector leader: India @ 49,489 metric tons (26.4%)
Backfill: Italy’s big numbers in April didn’t hold, as totals dropped from more than 41,000 metric tons to a normal 6,876 in May. Other countries picked up the slack; Brazil’s 48,438 metric tons in May, for example, shows a 94% increase from the same time last year.

Worked Marble Value
Total: $16.9 million (8.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $6.4 million (-6.0%)
Backfill: China’s second-place status is not-so-distant at $4.2 million, up 25.1 percent from a year ago. Turkey and Spain also show some hefty gains from May 2009—85.1% and 49.1%, respectively.

Worked Marble Volume
Total: 14,810 metric tons (11.3%)
Sector leader: China @ 5,531 metric tons (19.5%)
Backfill: China solidifies its leadership in worked-marble volume; Italy’s shipments to the United States remain flat, with its 3,345 metric tons representing a mere 0.4% lift. Turkey aggressively moves into third place with 2,285 metric tons, a 79.4% increase from May 2009.

Travertine Value
Total: $21.7 million (-0.2%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $14.2 million (2.6%)
Backfill: Values remain relatively flat overall from May 2009. Mexico ($4.3 million, up 20.4%) and Peru ($1.1 million, up 38.7%) score increases, while Italy and China suffer large declines.