Stone Column

Stone Column: 2008 U.S. stone imports = $2.262 billion

April 27, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Over the past few weeks, a hard-working editor on the Stone World staff took quite a bit of time to compile the year-end stone import and export statistics that are recorded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. To my mild surprise - and contrary to what I’ve been hearing from many stone suppliers - the total was not “zero.”

In actuality, the grand total was a bit more than that, as U.S. imports of granite, marble, slate and other materials amounted to $2.262 billion in 2008. While this marked a 18.06% decline from 2007’s overall import total of $2.761 billion - which was an all-time high - I expected the drop-off to be greater than that. (I should note this expectation didn’t come from perusing the monthly statistics that we publish in each issue of Stone World; rather, it was based on the seemingly endless stream of “gloom and doom” stories I have been hearing on the street and in the news.)

To be fair, the first half of 2008 started off much better than the second half, so looking at a year-long snapshot of the industry imports does not adequately illustrate how tough a year it was. Moreover, we all know that the statistics for the first few months (or more) in 2009 will be ugly, but our industry hasn’t completely collapsed just yet.

From an historical perspective, 2008’s U.S. stone import total falls a few percentage points short of 2005’s figure, which was $2.351 billion. Looking at specific exporting nations and categories, the following figures stand out:

• The value of granite imports to the U.S. dropped from $1.447 billion in 2007 to $1.148 billion in 2008 - a decline of 20.7%. Among leading granite-exporting nations, Brazil’s granite export total to the U.S. declined from $555.1 million to $422.5 million; Italy dropped from $268.6 million to $203.1 million; China dropped from $298.1 million to $267.5 million; and India dropped from $204.1 million to $169.9 million.

• The value of marble imports to the U.S. (including limestone, travertine and other calcareous stone) dropped from $1.126 billion in 2007 to $950.8 million in 2008 - a drop of 15.6%. Among leading marble-exporting nations, Turkey’s marble export total to the U.S. declined from $415.9 million to $327.1 million; Italy dropped from $178.6 million to $163.9 million; Mexico dropped from $128.5 million to $91.1 million; and China dropped from $106.9 million to $102.5 million.

A full statistical report on U.S. stone imports and exports can be found on pages 28 to 34 of this issue. This includes all U.S. stone imports and exports from 2007 and 2008, with figures on granite, marble, slate and materials classified as “other,” such as dolomite, sandstone, porphyry and other non-specific materials.

The numbers are not pretty, obviously, but if you check out the report, I promise that you won’t be looking at endless rows of zeroes.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Michael Reis

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

The Stone Fashion Show at Marmomacc in Verona

As usual, stone suppliers from Italy and around the world relied on the Marmomacc fair to showcase some of the latest stone materials to the international marketplace. The following is a look at just some of the stone materials on display in Verona.

Stone World Magazine

Stone World September 2014 cover

2014 September

In this issue of Stone World, we have a Report from Europe, which includes a series of articles about the quarries and stone processing operations that SW editor Jennifer Adams visited as part of the Marmomacc Stone Academy.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Fall 2014 cover

2014 Fall

In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the latest developments in TPT, with a feature article and you can read more comments from Waldrep on this subject as well as other industry professionals.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Guide

2014 Stone World Stone Guide

The directory for Stone, Equipment and Supplies - the single information resource readers turn to.

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+