Brazil, October 2018.- The Brazilian Stone Association Abirochas, in collaboration with the Brazilian Trade and Investment Council have recently lainched a promotional video on Brazilian granites highlighting its sustainability, recovery and recycling.
London, UK,October, 2018- The Stirling Prize is the most prestigious award for architecture in UK. The 2018 award has been awarded to the Bloomingdale Headquarters, designed by Fosters +Partners, and located in the City of London. About 9600 tons of Derbyshire sandstone was used in the project, and it is supposedly the biggest project in natural stone in City of London in a hundred years.
France, October, 2018.- The Canadian stone quarrying company Polycor Inc., has recently acquired four of the several quarries that belonged to the French company Rocamat. The quarries are of the famous limestone Massingis stone, Rocherons, Chassagne, San-Nicolas,all located in Burgundy.
Verona, Italy, September 2018.- Marmomac, Verona 2018 edition showed an explosion in creativity in developing possibilities in natural stone. Below is a video highlighting some of this creativity on display.
India, September, 2018.- The town of Kishanganj in the state of Rajasthan is one of the biggest trading hubs in marble in India, with a genuine "culture for marble" and over 1000 blockcutters and gangsaws operating. But the town has always been difficult to reach for buyers from outside the state due to poor communications. However, a daily flight from Delhi to the town is beginning soon, and the town of Kishanganj will soon be on the international map of natural stone.
Turkey,August 2018.- The financial crisis which the Turkish economy is currently going through is bound to have serious consequences for stone industry even after the extreme volatility of its currency ends. Apart from difficulty in pricing of stone in the export markets, which is mostly resolved by dealing in dollars, the local market for stone is bound to decline dramatically as the Turkish construction companies will go through serious financial problems due to their high debt in dollars. A large number of stone companies focused only on the upto now dynamic local construction market are expected to go out of business very soon.
India,July 2018.- The Indian government has reduced the rate of GST (General Sales Tax), similar to VAT in other countries, from 18% to 12%, for stone products, a measure that will surely be widely welcomed by the natural stone industry and should help to increase demand in its different applications.
Verona (Italy), July, 2018.- An interesting initiative has been taken up by the organisers of the Marmomac fair during this year´s event later in September. An exhibition titled Young Stone Project will be presented during the fair, focusing on experiments with use of stone materials carried out by the departments of architecture and design of five Italian universities. This event has been made possible with the support of several Italian stone and machinery companies.
USA, July, 2018.- An international stone symposium is being organised in Ventura (California) from 24 to 28 October. More details on this artistic oriented event involving stonemasons and sculptors etc. can be obtained at stoneworksymposium2018.net .
USA,July, 2018.- The US government has now released a new list for possible tariffs on products from China, which, if implemented will be from September. In this new list not only quartz but also natural stone and ceramics products have been included.
Nürmberg (Germany), June 2018.- The French machinery manufacturer Thibaut presented in the Stone+tec fair held recently in Nuremberg a versatile 6 axis multi-function machine T952. This all-in-one machining centre is able to cut as well as a bridgesaw, to mill as well as any machining centre and also polish of the highest quality. The T952 allows for several operations in one-straight and inclined cuts, flat and edge polishing, 3D shaping, drilling etc.
USA, June, 2018.- The data available from US customs for the first 3 months of 2018 reveals that for the first time ever the import of quartz surfaces was higher than that of processed granite. Worked granite accounted for US$ 195 million in the first 3 months (Brazil being the biggest supplier) while that of quartz it was US$ 252 million,with China being the biggest supplier. (Source: StoneUpdate).
Nuremberg (Germany),June, 2018.- The Stone-tec fair, held in Nuremberg after a period of 3 years from 13 to 16 June,in an economic environment of a booming German and Central European economy and increased construction activity, however, disappointed in terms of exhibitors. Several major German wholesalers, who dominate the market,did not exhibit, and the presence of international exhibitors and also visitors did not show any significant increase in numbers. However, the machinery exhibitors were busy and the funerary monument exhibitors displayed the wide range of tombstones with all kind of designs and new stones.
Vitoria (Brazil),29 May,2018.- During the last few days a major strike by truckers in Brazil protesting against high gasoline prices has brought chaos to the country with movement of goods coming to a halt. It was even feared that the Vitoria Stone fair, to be held soon in June, was going to be cancelled if the movement of stone etc.was not going to be possible. Finally it has been decided today that the fair will be held, but the new dates are from 7 to 10 June( two days later than planned).
Novelda (Spain), 25 May,2018.- The Board of Administration of the Levantina Group has named, with the full support of the new owners, the British investing group ByBrook Capital, the current President Patrick Verschelde as the CEO, who will now assume the functions of Martin Beck, who leaves the company for personal reasons.
Novelda (Spain),May, 2018.- According to a press note released by the Levantina Group on 18 May, the British investing company ByBrook Capital, which has recently purchased the majority of the shares and debt of Levantina,is now working on a plan for restructuring the debt with the aim of recapitalising the business and providing the necessary additional capital for fulfilling the multi-year business plan approved by the management of the company during the start of the year. From Levantina satisfaction is expressed for this operation and it is considered that "the entrance of this investing group will help to overcome the financial difficulties and to work together to clean up the balance sheet and assure the viability of the company", affirms Martin A.Beck, Managing Director of Levantina. The new investors are already working with the existing management team and plan to increase the investment with the objective of consolidating the Levantina project.
USA, May, 2018- The imports of quartz in USA has recently been generating controversy. The US quartz surfaces manufacturer, Cambria, has petitioned the American government to levy antidumping and countervailing duty on quartz imports from China alleging that Chinese producers have used dumping to gain an unfair advantage in the US market and are hurting the domestic industry. Quartz imports from China reached a figure of more than US$ 450 million in 2017. However, it seems some leading American importers of quartz from China are against levying antidumping duties and are making efforts so that antidumping duties are not levied.
Brazil, April 2018- The unusually long and harsh winter in the northern hemisphere clearly has been one of the reasons for a slow start to business activity in the stone industry. The official date for the first three months of this year show exports from Brazil have declined by 20% compared to last year for similar period.
Russia, April 2018.- Due to the World Football Cup being held this year in the country in the month of June, the authorities decided to bring forward all trade shows and conventions so that there would be no problem of availability of hotel rooms. Result was that three different trade shows related to building materials and construction (Stone Fair, Mosbuild and Batimat) were held simultaneously during the dates 3 to 6 April in different venues in Moscow, creating some confusion among both exhibitors and visitors. Construction activity seems to have picked up in the other cities of the vast country and is no longer restricted to Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Egypt, March 2018.- At least four mega factories for processing marble and granite, each with investments of dozens of million dollars are soon coming up in Egypt. All the factories will be state owned, and it is expected by end of the year 2018 all the four factories will be fully operational. Additional annual production capacity from the new units is expected to be around 15 to 20 million sqm.
India, 8 February 2018.-The WORLD NATURAL STONE ASSOCIATION (WONASA) in collaboration with the Indian Stone Association FIGSI organised a Panel Discussion on The New challenges facing the Natural Stone industry during the Stona fair inBangalore.. Participants were Mr Fernando Bolta, (Ceramiche Daytona, Italy), Mr Paulo Florio Giafarov (DGG, Brazil) and Mr Rogerio Moutinho (MGLW, UK). The participants debated on how the natural stone industry was being negatively affected by the new technological products in porcelain, but there was a market for both and discussed how there would ultimately be a co-existence between natural and artificial stone.
Taiwan, February 2018.- The earthquake in Taiwan on 6 February has had very negative consequences for the stone industry of the country. Most of the stone industry is located in Hualien close to the epicentre of the earthquake of magnitude 6.4, and some people estimate that as much as 30% of the slabs were destroyed due to the earthquake. Fortunately, since the earthquake took place in the evening hours when most workers had already left the factories, no human casualties took place.
Algeria January 2018.- Import restrictions in Algeria on marble and granite among other products as a result of austerity measures taken recently by the government and also to protect local producers have affected some international companies which sell in a significant way to this country.