Markets: Back to Growth

(May 2011) The Turkish stone branch may view their export figures for 2010 with mixed feelings: after all, they attained an all-time high in over all exports; on the other hand, a single buyer is taking on an ever increasing portion of the market.

Statistics show that stone exports grossed 1.568 billion US-$ (or 6.64 million t). This was an increase of +26.37% by value and +32.98% by mass compared to the crisis year 2009. Turkey thus broke its 2008 records and got back on its previous track of steady growth. Readers will recall: in 2000 exports were 187.7 million US $ a mere 10% of 2010 levels (1,568.2 million US $).

Let us turn to exports of individual countries. First, the good news: the USA showed an increase as did Canada and the European Union, together with Iraq, Turkish export companies were able to more than double their exports compared to a year prior.

But: China has taken over more than one third (38%) of Turkish production, magnifying the trend seen last year. By now, China is purchasing more stone from Turkey than North America and Europe together.

One aspect makes this development particularly dangerous: China imports mainly blocks. We may add that the trend is also present with respect to the Indian market – we are still talking about raw material – an strong growth trend.

It is hoped that increased growth in Western and Islamic countries translate in a general up-swing even for Turkey which, after all, showed increased exports in marble and travertine slabs by +133.64% by value and +186.83% by mass from an already all-time high.

Higher Italian exports

Italy, too, registered growth according to statistics of the internazionale Marmi e Macchine (IMM) Carrara and could return to the pre-crisis growth pattern. As with Turkey, exports of raw blocks were up +25.15% for marble by value, (high compared to the average of +10.81% )

The European Union was Italy’s prime consumer of finished value added products. Export of raw blocks to China totalled nearly three quarters of all exports. But finished products, too, were up. India is becoming an ever-more important trade partner for Italy.

Imports were also up, a fact which IMM Carrara interpreted as filling up stock after the crisis, and India was its prime supplier (223,000 t blocks). Brazil’s orders had the highest value, South Africa placed third. Together both countries made up 60% of Italian stone industry imports.

Details in Newsletter 08 (April 2011, pp. 13) of IMM Carrara.

Facts and figures from Brazil were compiled and interpreted in our March 2011 issue.