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DIMENSION STONE ADVOCATE NEWS

Issue No. 19 January – March 2005

Outlook Review for 2004: Total U.S. dimension stone sales in 2004 were up 24% from 2003.  Granite countertop sales in 2004 were up 15% to 20% over 2003, according to our observers; the granite countertop demand index shows a much greater gain.  A major continuing development is the strength of the Euro against the dollar.  The Fed made a series of interest rate hikes in 2004, and are likely to do some more.  To summarize, the 2004 outlook turned out excellent.

PRICES: Granite Countertops-Marble Tile-Granite Tile
Year 2002
1st Half 2003
2nd Half 2003
1st Half 2004
Late 2004
Granite countertops
100
79
89
83
94r
Marble tile
100
110
113
117
120r
Granite tile
100
190
117
114
154r

The indexes are based on wholesale-level prices, the Customs Value in dollars per tonne at the (foreign) point of origin.  These trends are only general; the situation will vary with different colors or patterns.  The prices will be evaluated in the Detailed Outlook (Issue 20).

Statistical Parameters: (a) Sales related:  The Overall Production-Demand Index was 100 for 1997, 126 for 1998, 144 for 1999, 164 for 2000, 177 for 2001, 190 for 2002, 221 for 2003, and 274 for 2004 (semifinal).  The Demand Index for Granite Countertops was 100 in 1997, 143 in 1998, 182 in 1999, 263 in 2000, 290 in 2001, 354 in 2002, 452 in 2003, and 691 in 2004 (semifinal).  The Demand Index for Granite and Marble Tile was 100 in 1997, 117 in 1998, 123 in 1999, 145 in 2000, 153 in 2001, 169 in 2002, 199 in 2003, and 256 in 2004 (semifinal).

(b) Foreign-U.S. Competition-related:  The strong Euro is the important story-the Euros per U.S. dollar (average) rate was 0.94 in 1999, 1.09 in 2000, 1.12 in 2001, 1.06 in 2002, and 0.89 in 2003; it was in the 0.83 to 0.74 range in 2004; the rates will be updated next issue.

To review the Canadian-U.S. situation, the Canadian dollar per U.S. dollar (average) was 1.48 in 1998, 1.49 in 1999, 1.49 in 2000, 1.55 in 2001, 1.57 in 2002, and 1.40 in 2003; the rates will be updated next issue.

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