August 2020: Overview

The General View: All hard-surface sectors continue to report monthly gains in August, with some even topping August 2019 numbers. The early time off due to COVID-19 closures in the spring may be translating to more workers taking full shifts instead of late summer sunny holidays this year. The Expected: Some major hard-surface-producing countries, such as Brazil and India, seem to be able to work through the pandemic and revive shipments of natural stone and manufactured surfaces to the United States. The Unexpected: Granite and marble continue an upbeat recovery path, with granite import values coming close (1.4%) to equaling shipment totals from August 2019 … and marble beating last year’s mark by 11.1%. Both of the natural-stone sectors also topped last August’s shipment volumes. The Strange: Where’s the fuel that’s firing up the surge in quartz-slab imports? After only a slight pause for the spring coronavirus slowdown, it’s Vietnam and Malaysia feeding U.S. ports-of-entry. Both countries rank in the top four U.S. suppliers in customs value and product volume, with Vietnam claiming the #2 value ranking with $16.5 million. Next Month: August gains also fell in line with loosened health restrictions in the European Union and other places. With coronavirus numbers ticking up and countries beginning to close up in the fall, will we start seeing the same in material-supply numbers?


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