Italy, meanwhile, fell 35.5 percent to 21,564 metric tons of worked-marble imports for mid-year 2009. Turkey slid 27.4 percent to 8,231 metric tons; Spain took a 51.6-percent hit from 2008 with this year’s half-year total of 8,231 metric tons. Greece’s 2,341 metric tons showed a 27.1 drop from mid-year 2008.


Turkey, the dominant country in travertine, continued to reduce value and volume of the stone flowing to the United States during the first half of 2009. Nobody moved in to pick up the slack, either.

The $123.6 million in total U.S. travertine imports in January-June this year marked a 39.5-percent slide from the same time in 2008. More than two-thirds of that total – $79.4 million – came from Turkey, and it’s not surprising the country took a 37-percent hit from 2008’s mid-year import values.

Other travertine-shipping countries fared worse; Mexico’s mid-year mark in U.S. import values fell 43.4 percent to $21.9 million, and Italy’s $8.9 million represented a 44.7-percent drop. Peru fell by 53.4 percent to $4.9 million at midpoint this year; it also slid from fourth to fifth, as China suffered only an 11.8-percent loss from mid-2008 with this year’s $5.1 million.

In this year’s first six months, U.S. travertine imports came to 211,358 metric tons – a 48.7-percent drop from the same time in 2008. Turkey again made up the lion’s share of this year’s imports with 150,697 metric tons, which represented a 50.9-percent loss from first-half 2008.

Mexico’s 32.957 metric tons of travertine exports to the United States by mid-year 2009 represented a 31-percent decline from the same time last year. Peru saw a drastic slide of 71.1 percent to 5,801 metric tons, while Italy dropped 63.2 percent this year with 6,931 metric tons.

China, meanwhile, won’t rival Turkey as a major player – but the 6,509 metric tons of travertine shipped to the United States through this June marked a 19.9-percent increase from mid-year 2008.


Other calcareous stone –limestone, plus onyx and alabaster – tallied $59.3 million in U.S. imports through the first six months of 2009, marking a 44.2-percent decline from the same time last year. Italy led the category at $10.4 million, down 44.6 percent from mid-year; Lebanon, a major player last year, dropped 66.9 percent to $3.1 million at the end of June.

China and India continued the competition for the lead in U.S. slate imports at mid-2009, with China taking the honor at $13.5 million to India’s $11.3 million; unfortunately, both registered import values of $19.2 million at the same time last year. The entire U.S. slate import value for the first half of this year came to $28.7 million, down 39.2 percent from the previous year.

The omnibus “other stone” category, including all non-classified stone types, suffered the least in the first six months of 2009 – although that’s slight comfort. The $87.1 million in mid-2009 other stone value represented a 34.3-percent decline, as India maintained the top position at $24.3 million and Brazil in second at $20.4 million.

Data for this article, and for accompanying charts, is derived from information reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. International Trade Commission. All analysis is made using comparable data. “Worked” data excludes crude/roughly trimmed stone comprised of marble/travertine, granite or other categories where volume measurement is in cubic meters instead of metric tons. Marble/travertine crude/roughly trimmed stone data is not included in value summaries, since the two stones are not delineated in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2002) (Revision 2).

Original publication ©2009 Western Business Media Inc. Use licensed to the author.

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