2019 Hard-Surface Imports

Granite

2019 Value: $810,882,264 Change from 2018: -5.8%

Worked Granite Imports

(U.S. dollars)

The 5.8% year-to-year decline in worked (sawn, one side finished) granite in 2019 is disappointing, although nowhere near as bad as the 32.8% slump from 2017-2018. Shipments appeared strong through the summer but tailed off in the fourth quarter.

All of granite’s Big Three (Brazil, China, India) wavered at year’s end, although Brazil looked poised to make a strong finish with a respectable $34 million in customs value for October. By December, however, the monthly total fell to $23 million. The country’s $395.5 annual total did show a slight improvement from 2018.

The Section 301 blanket tariff on Chinese products likely affected customs values more than actual shipments in 2019. Values tumbled by more than 27% from 2018 with China’s granite, but tonnage dropped by a much smaller amount; some tariff penalties were baked into the formula for new, lower prices.

2019 Volume: 1,418,450 MT Change from 2018: 2.8%

Worked Granite Imports

(metric tons)

Good news: Worked-granite imports increased in tonnage in 2019. The 2.8% move up is less than breathtaking, but it does stop four straight years of decline. Two of the Big Three – Brazil and India – improved from 2018.

Bad news: With the declared value of shipments continuing to fall, exporters continue to get less when sending worked granite to the United States. (Value-per-ton, or VPT, is covered a bit farther down the page.) It’s a multi-year trend that continued in 2019.

The decline in shipments from China may result in part from the Trump administrations’ Section 301 tariffs, but the more-likely culprit is a decline in granite demand. Last year’s 1.4-million metric tons from all countries is a 17.8% decline from 2015.

2019 Value per Ton: $571.67 Change from 2019: -8.4%

Worked Granite Imports

(U.S. dollars)

Beginning this year, Stone Update Magazine offers a comparison of customs values on a per-unit basis, with natural stone measured in metric tons and man-made material by the square foot. Optimists may see us starting on the wrong foot with worked granite.

Worked granite’s chart illustrates that 2019’s decline in VPT is no fluke. The black dotted line on all VPT and VPF² charts denotes the average of all imports of a material, and worked granite is heading on a constant downhill grade.

The all-countries average closely parallels sector-leader Brazil’s drop in VPT, with India showing a slight improvement in 2019 from the previous year. All of the major exporters to the United States show double-digit declines since 2015, except for one … and that country gets its own chart.

Wait, Where's Italy?

Italy’s premium hard-surface values can distort an overall value-per-unit chart, so the country will get an occasional separate entry in 2019. The country’s worked-granite VPT – nearly double the overall average – would literally squish the other countries together into merged lines on a combined graph.

Italy didn’t show up on the volume chart because its 2019 total (33,651 MT) is slightly more than half of fifth-place Canada’s. Italy still provides top-quality material – hence the much-higher values – and its worked granite steadily appreciated in value.

In 2019, however, Italy’s worked-granite VPT took a steep drop from the previous year, despite an increase in shipments of 2.4%. Values may be much higher, but they still fell last year.