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DIMENSION STONE ADVOCATE NEWS

Detailed Outlook 2009 Issue No. 32 September 2009

The latest statistics are now updated on the Basics/Mines blog.

This outlook is based on structured, in-depth conversations with well-placed industry observers, some preliminary statistics (even a few for 2009), and the professional judgment of the Publisher/Editor, Harold A. Taylor.

General 2009 Outlook:  The Overall Production-Demand Index showed that overall 2008 U.S. dimension stone sales were down 10% from 2007.  Residential real estate prices might have bottomed now in some places, cheaper homes more probably than mansions.  The major statistical components of the dimension stone demand indexes show signs of bottoming: the 2Q 2009 component for granite rose 18% from the 1Q, and the 2Q 2009 component for marble rose 2% from the 1Q.  The major component for granite countertops in the 2Q 2009 rose 18% from the 1Q 2009.  These are some grounds for hope for 2009.

New readers of DSAN should also check the cover for “Early-Bird”, “Pulsetaking”, and “Late-Bird” Outlooks, and the large body of information built up in the back issues, Issues 1 to 31.  See Issue 20 for data for earlier years.

See Architect's Stone Selection Helper and its trove of stone photos for quick and convenient use by architects and others needing to quickly and conveniently examine many stones by color and appearance before selection of a few alternates.

Outlook for granite memorials and monuments: This includes mausoleums and other stone funeral products.  Sales of domestic monumental granite in 2009 is likely to be down 3% from 2008 and 2008 was down 2% from 2007.  A significant volume of imports of finished granite monuments continued to be present.

Outlook for granite countertops:  The 2009 outlook by the DSAN observers for granite kitchen countertops is for sales likely to be down 5% for an average cheaper stone to down 20% for a high-end expensive stone from 2008; 2008 was down 9% from 2007.  The 2008 Granite Countertop Demand Index was down 11% from 2007.

Outlook for dimension stone tile: This includes mostly granite and marble, almost all imported but some domestic, and of various sizes and thicknesses.  The observers indicate that 2009 sales are more likely to be down 18% from 2008.  The Demand Index for Granite and Marble Tile showed that sales in 2008 for granite and marble tile were down around 10% from 2007. 

Outlook for Indiana limestone: This is the major U.S. limestone and is made into products including cut-to-size panels or veneer, lintels, sills, stair treads, ashlar, and cubic stock.  Sales in 2009 are likely to be down 3% from 2008.  Indiana limestone sales in 2008 were down 4% from 2007.
 
Outlook for worked slate (including roofing slate): Sales of domestic slate in 2009 are likely to be down 4% from 2008.  Sales of domestic slate in 2008 were down 10% from 2007.

Outlook for other dimension stone: This would include sandstone, bluestone, and flagstone (misc.).  Sales in 2009 are likely to be down 10% from 2008.  Sales in 2008 were down 10% to 12% from 2007.

Building Green Update for Dimension Stone: The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has formed a new committee E60 Sustainability, that presently covers sustainability-related matters (i.e. "green" building, life cycle assessment) mostly for  building products such as dimension stone, wood, and concrete.  E60 held its first meeting in Vancouver BC in April and will have its next meeting in October in Atlanta GA.

Current Statistical Parameters: (a) Sales related-demand.  The Overall Dimension Stone Production-Demand Index based on 100 for 1997, was 355 for 2006, 365 for 2007, and 328 for 2008 (semifinal).
The Demand Index for Granite Countertops based on 100 for 1997, was 1081 in 2006, 1066 in 2007, and 948 in 2008 (final).  The Demand Index for Granite and Marble Tile based on 100 for 1997, was 414 in 2006, 473 in 2007, and 429 in 2008 (final).

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