2019 Hard-Surface Imports
2019 Value: $1,171,696,716 Change from 2018: 0.6%
Big tariffs – on average, more than 300% -- go on Chinese quartz-slab shipments arriving to the United States for most of 2019, and its shipments fell by more than 90% from 2018. Take the sector leader out, and what happens?
As far as quartz-slab import values in 2019, virtually nothing, with an ever-so-slight increase of less than one percent. As bottom-dollar exports from China evaporated, other countries picked up the slack.
Spain led all countries in value, helped in part by its native premium-value producers (Cosentino and Compac). India, Turkey and Vietnam became the main beneficiaries of China’s exit, as all three saw triple-digit increases from 2018.
The large growth in the All Others category represented a hodgepodge of countries, including those becoming new China-backed production centers (Malaysia, Philippines) to others getting a better foothold in the U.S. quartz-surface market with the exit of products directly from China (Czech Republic, Brazil, South Korea).
2019 Volume: 140,047,564 sf² Change from 2018: -4.6%
China’s 84.1 million ft² in 2018 came to more than 57% of all quartz slabs arriving in the United States. While the country shipped less than a tenth of that in 2019, other source stepped in to nearly fill a massive import gap.
India surged to top the 2019 list, with Vietnam and Turkey also pushing past longtime U.S. suppliers such as Israel and Canada. The threat of unfair-trade tariffs extending to India and Turkey cooled growth in value and volume of U.S. shipments in the fourth quarter, however.
The same group of countries pushing growth under the All Others category with quartz-slab value did the same for volume in 2019.
Of particular note is Malaysia; until last January, the country had yet to ship one square foot of material to the United States. By year’s end, it sent 281,046 ft² and continued to increase amounts each month.
2019 Value per ft²: $8.37 Change from 2018: 5.5%
Quartz-slab’s value-per-unit chart may be less about the sector’s financial health than the impact of tariff actions. In 2018, the anticipation of U.S. unfair-trade action against China created a mad export rush before duties were imposed. In 2019, India and Turkey filled the lower-value gap left by China, only to face possible tariff action themselves.
Cover up 2018 and 2019 on the chart, and VPFt² show growth or only moderate declines for all sector leaders except Canada. Then cover up 2015 and 2016 to isolate the past three years, and all countries go into decline by 2019 … except for Canada.
The 2018 onrush of pre-tariff quartz slabs from China didn’t create a massive surplus, as market demand consumed the excess and brought new import leaders to the fore. However, 2019 brought a softening of quartz-slab value for countries offering general and premium name-brand output – yes, except for Canada. Something’s working for producers north of the border.