The Italian industry achieved a trade balance of over 1.5 billion Euros: +10% on 2012. Increase in exports of finished marble products (+4.4% in quantity and +10.6% in value). U.S. market still experiencing significant growth: +22% in quantity and +27.5% in value.
According to the research office of the Internazionale Marmi e Macchine Carrara , during the year 2013 Italy exported 4,271,962 tons of stone materials (marble and granite, travertine and stone, both raw materials and finished products) for a total value of 1,932,320,029 Euros, showing an increase in quantity of 2.24 % and an increase in value of 6.73% (Table 1) with respect to 2012.
The research office systematically processes the data supplied by Istat, comparing it with past data and the results of economic research and specific studies aimed at identifying excellence and the potential of the Italian industry on a national and international level.
Analysis of the Italian statistics shows that the average unit value of exports of the industry in 2013 amounted to 452.3 Euros per ton, which was an increase of 4.4% compared to 2012. Considering only quality materials (marble and granite blocks, slabs and finished products), the average unit value is 580.6 Euros per ton, amounting to an increase of 5.5%. This result can be attributed in particular to the significant increase in exports of finished marble that recorded a 4.4% increase in quantity and a 10.6% increase in value. In 2013 Italy exported 924,425 tons of finished marble for a total value of 901.6 million Euros, returning at last to the figures of the early 2000s (see chart).
Exports of marble blocks and slabs also continued to grow both in quantity and value, with 1.4 million tons of marble blocks and slabs for the total value of 331 million Euros, representing a 2.6% increase in quantity and an 8.6% increase in value compared to 2012.
With regard to granite exports, the negative trend continued throughout 2013 in quantities, but there was an increase of 1.75% in the value of exports of finished products which reached 558.4 million Euros. The biggest market for the Italian stone industry is USA, which in 2013 absorbed 231,321 tons of high quality materials for a total value of nearly 363 million Euros, an increase of 22% compared to 2012 in quantity and by 27.5% in value (Table 2).
There was, however, a decline in exports to Germany. Although Germany remained the leading market in terms of volume (217,500 tons of high quality materials for 150 million Euros), there was a decline in imports from Italy by 10.5% in quantity and value compared to 2012 as it seems to shift more and more towards China for its supplies.
The third largest market for Italian stone is China to which more than 533,000 tons of quality materials were exported to the tune of 134 million Euros (of which 107 million of marble blocks and slabs), an increase of 8.2% in quantity compared to 2012 and of 12.8% in value.
Exports to North Africa increased with a clear revival in Tunisia and Libya. In 2013, North Africa absorbed 450,600 tons of high quality materials to the value of 93.5 million Euros and an increase of 2.3% in quantity and 15.5% in value compared to the previous year.
Exports to the Middle East also grew, with 469,600 tons of Italian marble and granite for a value of 255.5 million Euros, an increase of 3.7% in quantity and 10.3% in value. Qatar stood out with values of exports almost tripling, from 17 million in 2012 to 49 million in 2013, while quantities almost doubled from 24,600 tons to more than 48,000 tons.
Very different was the situation regarding imports, which declined compared to 2012. In fact, in 2013, Italy imported 1.390,880 tons of stone materials (mostly raw materials) for a value of 373,564,569 Euros, representing a decline, compared to 2012, of 6.67% in quantity and 5.42% in value (Table 3). This decline was particularly due to the reduction in imports of raw granite, which still represent about half the value of imports of the industry.
For some years now, however, imports of raw granite have been showing a declining trend, reflecting a crisis in the granite sector, further highlighted by the ever-increasing specialization of the industry in finished marble. This is also confirmed by the growth in imports of marble blocks and slabs in both quantity (0.9%) and value (5.3%), purchased mainly from Turkey, Croatia and Namibia. Turkey, in 2013, supplied more than 29,000 tons of marble blocks and slabs for a value of 9 million Euros, an increase of 3% in quantity and 5.7% in value. Imports of limestone from Croatia and Namibia also increased significantly. In 2013, almost 60,000 tons of marble were imported from Croatia for a value of 8.6 million Euros: an increase of 54% in volume and 47.5% in value, while Italian imports from Namibia stood at over 15,000 tons of marble blocks and slabs (+30%) for a value of 8.2 million Euros (+37.3%).
Source: ISTAT; Processing: IMM Carrara