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Granite’s recovery at the start of Fourth Quarter 2010 is robust; although marble is in the doldrums and travertine is declining from a peak in mid-summer. Other calcareous, meanwhile, is just plain wacky.

The following is an exclusive Stone Business analysis of data released Dec. 10, 2010, by  the U.S. International Trade Commission. All figures give are for October 2010 (change from October 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 (at least once).

em hed shot 2 120Worked Granite Value
Total: $81.6 million (22.6%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $37.9 million (50.8%)
Backfill: Granite values continue to improve from 2009, although values seem to be decreasing from a summertime high. While Brazil bettered its October ’09 totals by half, China took a 15.1% step back. Outside of the Big Four (Brazil, China, India and Italy) the biggest gainer in 2010 is Saudi Arabia, with $5.8 cumulative through October.

Worked Granite Volume
Total: 150,134 metric tons (5.3%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 79,192 metric tons (47.9%)
Backfill: Brazil once again carried more than half of the literal load of granite moving into the United States in October. Italy had its second-best month of 2010 with 27,758 metric tons. Volume from China and India, meanwhile, dropped from October ’09 levels by 46.2% and 61.4%, respectively.

Worked Marble Value
Total: $12.3 million (-11.3%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $4.8 million (-16.4%)
Backfill: Italy took a tumble from October ’09, and so did second-place China at $3 million (-11.5%). Turkey’s $1.2 million showed a rare gain (3.9% with $1.2 million, and Spain took a small loss (-1.1%) at $1.1 million. The cumulative 2010 import value for worked marble is $158.2 million, down 2.2% from the same time last year.

Worked Marble Volume
Total: 11,469 metric tons (-9.2%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 3,576 metric tons (34.3%)
Backfill: Italy’s gain came from having a crummy October ‘09. China, the cumulative volume leader in 2010, had its worst month this year in October with 3,421 metric tons, down 36.8% from October ’09. Turkey showed the best gain from last October at 6.4%. Cumulative worked-marble volume for all U.S. imports this year is 142,749, up 1.9% from the first 10 months of 2009.

Travertine Value
Total: $18.7 million (-5.6%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $11.4 million (-13.7%)
Backfill: Nobody’s challenging Turkey for the lead; second-place Mexico shipped $3.5 million, down 8% from October ’09. China rocketed to third with $1.5 million (a 121.1% gain, displacing Italy and Peru. Total U.S. travertine imports for 2010 are $210.4 million, or only $1.3 million ahead of the same time last year.