125_stoneGranite takes a bit of a stagger – mainly in volume – in U.S. dimensional-stone imports this April. Marble’s no winner either, but travertine turns in a strong performance.

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 April 2011 (change from April 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).

Total: $71.6 million (-0.1%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $30.3 million (-1.0%)

Backfill: With a difference of less than $100,000 from April to April, there’s very little change in overall import value. The good news comes from India, where the $10.1 million for this April marks a 6.5% increase from the previous year. Italy’s $9.1 million takes the biggest year-to-year dip at 2.0%, while China keeps pace with $16.3 million, up 0.9%.

Total: 91,410 metric tons (-40.3%)
Sector leader: Brazil @  37,826 metric tons (-0.2%)

Backfill: Factor in some unusually large shipments for India and Italy for April 2010 and ... no, this April still falls short in tonnage. China’s 26,641 metric tons more than doubles its March 2011 total, but it’s 25.3% less than last April. The drop in shipments from India and Italy – 58.1% and 83.7%, respectively – look awful, but aren’t particularly indicative. Spain may offer only a small bit of U.S. granite imports, but the 1,756 metric tons this April is a 129.8% boost from last year.

Total: $14.7 million (-5.1%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $6.8 million (1.9%)

Backfill: Slab/tile marble import values would look a lot sunnier if China performs better; its $3.0 million for April 2011 is 14.6% behind last year and the only decline among the top four exporters to the United States. Spain’s $1.7 million offers a 1.4% gain from the previous April; the $1.5 million from Turkey represents a 37.8% gain.

Total: 11,857 metric tons (-15.1%)
Sector leader: China @ 3,580 metric tons (-18.4%)

Backfill: China wrests the top position away from Italy this April, although the difference in shipments between the two is less than 120 metric tons. Spain’s 1,733 metric tons ranks third, although that’s 15.2% less than April 2010 totals; only Turkey, at 1,523 metric tons, shows a gain from last year (16.4%) among the market leaders.