October 2020: Overview

The General View: October is usually when we see U.S. imports taper off, as the major construction season winds down. It seems that 2020 is revealing one more surprise, as this October shows the best results of the year. Annual growth from October 2019 is 18.6%. The Expected: The $120 million in quartz slabs rolling through U.S. ports-of-entry in October is the best “normal” month on record. Higher totals came in July-August 2018 and June 2019, but those were also months where Chinese exporters flooded the product channel to avoid massive tariffs. The Unexpected: Vietnam’s move into second place among countries exporting quartz slabs to the United States. The 2 million square feet arriving this October is up 46.3% from October 2019. The Strange: The tariff snapback repeats itself. In 2019, porcelain imports experienced the same gush of product flow as quartz surfaces in 2018, as Chinese producers filled the pipeline before impositions of huge unfair-trade tariffs. And, just like quartz surfaces, porcelain now shows higher import volumes and values without Chinese competition. Next Month: A drop in November hard-surface shipments would be normal behavior for the import market. Of course, 2020 has been anything but normal.


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