125_roughStone charges ahead in May, 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.

Total: $98.6 million (18.3%)
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.

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.

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.

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.