(May 2009) Even though the Turkish natural stone industry seems to have survived 2008 unscathed, at least according to the statistics, the financial crisis has finally arrived there, too: the first quarter of 2009 saw a recession of „17 to 19 %“ according to the national association IMMIB at the Izmir fair.
2008 saw growth of 13.01 % in export value and 8.19 % in tonnage or 1,395 billion USD and 5,116 tons (see table). Note that BusinessStone.com adjusted the IMMIB statistics for reasons of comparability to exclude figures that pertain to gravel or similar products.
The increase in export despite the worldwide crisis was due to the fact that exporters were able to pick up the slack caused by a weak US market by exporting to other countries. An increase in exports could be noted especially to Islamic countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya.
Growth in the Chinese markets also helped compensate for the loss in the US markets with amounted to -20.35 % in value and -25.98 % in mass.
Notably the USA is still Turkey’s most important market for stone blocks followed by China. It would be exaggerated to speak of a dangerous monoculture. Although the mainstream buying market lags far behind the two main buyers, there is a wide diversity of high-end buyers. Also 2008 saw a healthy growth in exports showing that Turkish exports stand steadfast on the bandwagon of diversification.
Also of interest is the fact that marble has taken first place in exports of slabs replacing of travertine.
Also noteworthy: Turkish exporters seem to be aiming at the former Soviet markets – exports saw a sharp increase. Although the export value was low in absolute terms the former Soviet States are generally thought to be a promising market. Exports to States of the European Union in contrast were irregular.
IMMIB (Istanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters’ Association)