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After more than a decade of exponential growth, exports of Brazilian granite to the U.S. saw their first-ever decline in 2008 - dropping from an all-time high of $555.05 million in 2007 to a projected total of $409.70 last year (according to data extrapolated from the first two-thirds of the year). But even despite a projected decline of more than 26%, Brazil remains by far the largest exporter of granite to the U.S. and producers of Brazilian stone are continually exploring new materials with an eye on the American marketplace. With this in mind, the Vitória Stone Fair - which will take place in the heart of the stone-producing Espírito Santo State from February 10 to 13- remains a key event for the international stone trade.
Besides the exotic and classic stones, new technology also gained the attention of entrepreneurs - including large-scale machinery from Italy.
Solid AttendanceAccording to event organizer Milanez & Milaneze, attendance at the 2008 Vitória Stone Fair totaled 33,374, which was comparable to 2007’s record total of 35,797.
This attendance total included an all-time high of over 2,400 foreign visitors from more than 60 nations around the world. In addition to Americans, the event was attended by professionals from Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Persian Gulf.
The exhibition is held in an area of over 375,000 square feet (35,000 sq.m), and the facilities have been upgraded with air conditioning and improved infrastructure.
Many Brazilian stone producers use the Vitória Stone Fair to launch new materials to the marketplace, including varieties of marble, granite, slate, quartzite and other stones. In addition to stone materials, the event includes a range of stoneworking machinery, particularly for large-scale stone plants, as well as tooling, accessories, adhesives, maintenance products and resins.
EspÃrito Santo's IndustryThe fair’s location within Espírito Santo gives attendees the opportunity to visit some of the many stoneworking plants in the Vitória area, which are being developed and upgraded on a continual basis. According to show organizers, the Espírito Santo State is responsible for nearly half of Brazil’s stone production as well as its exports. It is also the home of the Vitória port complex, which has Espírito Santo into a major Brazilian export center for blocks and slabs.
Besides the Vitória Stone Fair, Milanez & Milaneze conducts the Cachoeiro Stone Fair every August, also in the Espírito Santo State. For more information on both events, or assistance with travel, visit: www.feiradomarmore.com.br.
Sidebar: Assessing Brazil's Performance in 2008To give some perspective on the importance of Brazilian stone in the international marketplace, a report on Brazil’s stone industry for the first half of 2008 was released by Milanez & Milaneze, organizers of the Vitória Stone Fair. According to this report, the Brazilian dimensional stone industry exported $472.43 million worth of stone during the first half of 2008, with a total export volume of 1.01 million tons.
In the Brazilian export sector, processed stone represented 81.75% of the revenue and 54.07% of the physical volume shipped, with 18.25% of value and 45.93% of volume coming from raw stones.
While the finished granite slab exports are clearly the centerpiece for the Brazilian stone industry, revenue has increased in other areas. The portion of overall revenue derived from block sales increased from 16.97% to 18.25% last year. Additionally, the portion of revenue from slate increased from 8.85% to 11.84%, and revenue share from quartzite increased from 3.92% to 4.30%.
The main destinations for the Brazilian blocks exports (including marble and granite) were China (39.53%), Italy (29.58%) and Spain (6.7%).
Among the various states in Brazil, companies from Espírito Santo are particularly focused on slab exports, which comprise 84% of the total exported value from the state. Moreover, it is responsible for 65% of all of Brazil’s slab exports, according to the report.