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Further decrease of Italian exports

Leap Stone (August 04, 2009)


Steep reduction in Italian exports of marble and granite


In the first four months of 2009 Italy exported 1 million 48 thousand tons of stone (raw materials, finished products and chips), for a value of 427 million 475 thousand euro, which corresponds to a 21,3% reduction in quantity and a 23,6% reduction in value compared to the same period in 2008.
These figures, published by the Internazionale Marmi e Macchine Carrara that carries out the collection, processing and analysis of production figures and trends on the natural stone markets on a regular basis, show that fears that 2009 would be a difficult, bleak year were founded.

The figures are actually among the worst in recent years and reflect a steep reduction in Italian exports due to the heavy crisis which has affected the various markets and consumption.
Although four months may be a short period and the rest of the year is still to unfold, the figures highlight reductions in all areas, albeit with variations in the absolute figures and percentages.
As regards the major materials such as granite, the negative trend is confirmed and although the percentages are not so bad they are definitely all “in the red”.
On a national level, it is above all finished products and in particular granite that recorded the highest reductions with a 34,21% drop in quantity and a 33,51% drop in value (see attached tables) whereas finished marble and travertine products stood their ground better, although fairly marginally, falling by 26,19% in terms of quantities exported and 18,99% in value.
Exports of finished marble products totalled over 197 million Euros while those of granite amounted to 138 million 760 thousand Euros whereas in the same period last year the figures came to 243 million Euros for finished marble products and 208 million Euros for granite finished products.

Other figures are worth mentioning too such as those for the markets for these products and the trends in the two major production areas: Tuscany and Veneto.
In terms of markets the most negative figures were recorded in North America. Considering the US market, from 2007 the figures record a two-thirds reduction in imports in volume while the drop in value was over 54%. In this area exports of finished granite exports decreased mostly over the last year while marble suffered minor losses both in terms of volume and value.
Likewise, exports fell to the European Union by over 28% in value for the major products and to European countries outside the EU by 15, 5% (Switzerland, Russia and Croatia fell). Africa (North) held strong in terms of value as did the Middle East (the Emirates fared well, whereas Saudi Arabia recorded contradictory results and Kuwait negative ones) yet some reductions were seen in terms of volume.

The Far East decreased both in volume and value. India showed some uncertainties and China, that pays more for Italian materials, recorded limited figures.

As regards the two major Italian districts (Tuscany and Veneto) figures are available for the first three months only. Analysis of these shows something that was already evident in 2008: Tuscany seems to feel the negative trend on external markets less than Veneto where the greater importance of granite, that is not its “own” material, accentuates export difficulties. The shortness of the period does not allow for much analysis other than confirmation of the negative trend; a more complete picture will be possible with the figures from the first six-month period.