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 July 2011 (change from July 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.

WORKED GRANITE VALUE
Total: $99.3 million (-0.4%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ $42.9 million (-3.1%)

Backfill: July and August form the peak of annual granite imports; after a five-month trend of value increases in 2011, the slowdown this July isn’t exactly good news. Of granite’s Big Four, India saves the month with $18.1 million, up 38.7% from last July. Both China ($20.8 million, down 7.1%) and Italy ($10.4 million, down 17.1%) take a tumble.

WORKED GRANITE VOLUME
Total: 125,442 metric tons (-9.2%)
Sector leader: Brazil @ 51,118 metric tons (-19.7%)

Backfill: China and India provide the support for actual granite slab/tile imports. China’s 34,329 metric tons represents a 10.9% lift from last July, and India ramps up 15.4% to 23.023 metric tons. A decade ago, Italy dominated this sector; July’s 8,491 metric tons lags behind last year by 44.1%.

WORKED MARBLE VALUE
Total: $21.5 million (7.5%)
Sector leader: Italy @ $10.4 million (25.4%)

Backfill: Marble import values hold on for July, with Italy posting a major boost. China wavers from a year ago ($3.7 million, down 6.3%), but easily keeps second. A surprising Spain surges to third ($2.4 million, up 15.5%) past a sliding Turkey ($2.2 million, down 13%).

WORKED MARBLE VOLUME
Total: 16,501 metric tons (-4.8%)
Sector leader: Italy @ 5,397 metric tons (1.3%)

Backfill: There’s something about July and marble imports; it’s the month that Italy leads the sector and China drops to second. This year, China does it again with 4,461 metric tons (down 3.3%). Coupled with Turkey’s fall-off (2,096 metric tons, down 10.7%), the two countries essentially account for the sector’s decline from last July.

TRAVERTINE VALUE
Total: $25.8 million (10.3%)
Sector leader: Turkey @ $16.7 million (8.8%)

Backfill: Happy times all around here, as the four members of the million-dollar club for import values – Turkey, Mexico, China and Italy – show increases from July 2010. China also breaks out of a 2011 funk with $1.4 million in July, its first million-dollar month since January. Peru posts a respectable $866K, although that’s a $130K drop from the previous month and 18.3% less than last July.