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DIMENSION STONE ADVOCATE NEWS

Issue No. 2 January - February 2001

Outlook for dimension stone, 2001: At this time, the U.S. economy still appears to be weakening, with the California energy shortage putting on additional downwards pressure. Since construction lags the economy, any effect on dimension stone sales may take a while to show up. Limited information suggests the year 2000 was hot in U.S. dimension stone markets, even by world standards, but latter year data now unavailable may modify that picture. Italian sources say that dimension stone prices are falling on the average in major markets (Europe, North America, Far East), with several significant exceptions. Things will be a little clearer when USGS preliminary 2000 data is released in one or two months (see later issue).

Stone World has just come out with its annual buyer's guide (November) and directory by company name and type of product, covering the different major kinds of imported and domestic stone (granite, marble, etc.) and subdivided into types of stone products (tile, monuments, cut-to-size, curbing, etc.) for each stone, stone quarrying and finishing equipment, and installation and stone care supplies. In addition, it lists some stone definitions, trade associations and trade shows, and some world stone statistics for 1999 and several previous years from Italian sources indicating that the 1999 world dimension stone consumption totalled 600 million square meters that generated a turnover above $20 billion. This is projected to rise to 900 million square meters over the succeeding five years.

Other sources of information: Stone (formerly Dimensional Stone) has also come out with its directory issue (December), presently not in the editor's hands, and has two recent interesting articles, one on buying a dimension stone operation (August 15) and one on Italian dimension stone websites, such as www.marblefromitaly.com (September 15, 2000).

Year 2000 U.S. statistics: Based on early year data, U.S. dimension stone imports probably were about $960 million in 2000, compared to the USGS total of $808 million in 1999 and $698 million in 1998. With the USGS statistics, hopefully in the next issue, it will be possible to get a good estimate of domestic production in 2000, plus an estimate of dimension stone imports by kinds of stone, especially granite and marble.

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