2005_travertineGranite shipments remain strong at the start of 2011, with Brazil finding hot competition from China to be #1. Travertine also shows signs of good recovery, according to a Stone Business analysis of U.S. import data.

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 January 2011 (change from January 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).

WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total: $73.7 million (9.2%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $32.5 million (14.9%)

Backfill: Brazil remains as the #1 player in U.S. worked-granite imports, providing 44 percent of total import values in January. However, that $32.5 million also represents the sixth straight month of decline from last July’s $44.2 million.
The remainder of granite’s Big Four shows a reasonably good start to 2011 – China at $18.2 milion (up 7.8 percent) and Italy at $9 million (up 4.1 percent). India notches a decline from January 2010, but its $8.6-million total for this January is only a 1.6-percent dip.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 126,891 metric tons (54.5%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 41,881 metric tons (27.9%)

200_jan11_graniteClick image to enlargeBackfill: When import tonnage increases by half-again for a stone, there’s usually a bogey in the mix; this time, it’s Canada. This is no diss to our friendly neighbors to the North, but the 21,139 metric tons shown for January is a 1,982.7-percent blast-off from January 2010 totals – and not that far behind the 2010 total of  27,568 metric tons Canada sent south.
The hot story for 2011 in granite imports may be the heavy loads of Chinese containers; the January shipment of 41,770 metric tons is a 55.7-percent leap from the previous January, and only 111 metric tons below first-place Brazil. India keeps relatively stable at 11,095 metric tons (down 0.7 percent), while Italy drops 9.1 percent to 5,860 metric tons.