Markets: Healthy growth for the branch world-wide

„Stone 2008“(December 2008) While we do not aim to be overly critical, the reader-friendliness of tables published solely as a CD instead of the usual paper version in this edition of „Stone 2008“ does seem rather questionable. After all, who can follow the line on the monitor without assistance of an index finger? Or what about the statistics in horizontal format that can hardly be read on a monitor?

We suspect that the publisher Ill Sol 24 Ore Business Media who took over from the Faenza Editrice in publishing „Stone2008“ wanted to reduce the cost of printing the 250-page compendium in passing along the costs to the readers, who will now have to print out the publication themselves.

It’s not up to us to point fingers since we at do the same thing.

The statistics are above criticism coming once again from Carlo Montani who again did a most admirable job of collecting statistics of all sorts from the stone industry all over the world and compiling data in neat, understandable tables.

Montani has been ascertaining constant growth in the branch for years now. So, too, was 2007 a year of expansion: compared to the previous year, production of natural stone worldwide was up 11.7% and the trade volume increased by 11.5%. This was the largest increase since 1990. The years in between showed production growth of 7.5% and an increase in trade of 9.3% respectively.

2007 saw growth of the stone industry overtake growth in other business branches considerably.

Surprising in light of world-wide fears of recession and crisis of the financial markets which gave the tenor during the second half of 2008 according to Montani, who predicts further growth albeit that disposal and transportation as well as lack of investment in modern technology may overshadow the upward trend.

Speaking of transportation: once again, the stone branch affirmed its status as somewhat of a traveling circus since two thirds of the worldwide production were destined for retail abroad.

There are seven main global players in the business making up a full 71.3% of world-wide production. Number one is China responsible for 25.6% of global production followed by India (12.6%), Turkey (7.7%), Italy (7.5%), Iran, Spain (5.8%) and Brazil (5.6%).

China was responsible for 25% of all world-wide natural stone exports alone. This translates to 11.5 million tones exported abroad with monopolies in South Korea and Japan. The USA and Germany were also important consumer countries for Chinese production. Montani notes that 91% of turnover were end-products

As in the past, the author published total statistic figures. 210 million tones of natural stone were mined in 2007 or 1.13 billion square meters (2 cm thick).

Looking farther ahead, Montani expects an upward trend in the industry: 2025 should see a world-wide production of up to 490 million tones or 3.3 billion square meters. „These might seem unrealistic or unrealizable numbers“, says Montani pointing out all-the-while that the ceramic industry has already achieved these figures back in 1994.

„Stone 2008“, Carlo Montani, Handbook and compendium of analysis (120pp) plus CD with statistics, ISBN 978-88-8138-121ø, 32 €.