In the news: Housing Starts Decline in March

Total housing starts fell 0.3 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.14 million units from a downwardly revised reading in February, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department that was delayed due to the partial government shutdown.

The March reading of 1.14 million is the number of housing units builders would begin construction if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts fell 0.4 percent to 785,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, remained flat at 354,000.

“Despite signs of stabilization of confidence in the marketplace, housing affordability continues to be a concern as housing construction weakens into March,” said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn.

“Data in the early months of 2019 show single-family starts are off 5 percent from this time in 2018, with notable weakness in the Midwest and West,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Several factors are negatively affecting the housing market, including excessive regulations, a lack of buildable lots and ongoing labor shortages. Recent declines in mortgage rates should help support the market in future months however.”

Regionally, combined single-family and multifamily starts year to date declined 14.2 percent in the Northeast, 10.9 percent in the Midwest and 27.1 percent in the West. Starts posted a 1.5 percent increase in the South.

Overall permits, which are often a harbinger of future housing production, edged 1.7 percent lower in March to 1.27 million units. Single-family permits fell 1.1 percent to an annualized pace of 808,000, while multifamily permits dropped 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 461,000.

Looking at regional permit data on a year to date basis, permits are down 3.7 percent in the Midwest, 0.4 percent in the South and 16.9 percent in in the West. The Northeast remained unchanged.


Read more here.



Thursday, April 18, 2019 | Abbe Will
Annual gains in improvement and repair spending on the owner-occupied housing stock are projected to continue decelerating through early next year, according to our latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA). The LIRA forecasts that year-over-year growth in homeowner remodeling expenditure will slow from about 7 percent today to 2.6 percent by the first quarter of 2020.

Cooling house price gains, home sales activity, and remodeling permitting are lowering our expectations for home improvement and repair spending this year and next. Yet, more favorable mortgage rates could still give a boost to home sales and refinancing this spring and summer, which could help buoy remodeling activity.

Home improvement and repair spending has been in an extended period of above trend growth for several years, due to weak homebuilding, aging homes, and other factors. However, growth in remodeling is expected to fall below the market’s historical average of 5 percent for the first time since 2013.

Read more here.

In the news: Emser holds distribution center ribbon cutting

[Coral Springs, Fla.] Emser Tile opened its fourth distribution center in North America.

The addition of the 220,000-square-foot state-of-the-art distribution center here in Coral Springs supports the region’s homebuilders, retailers and residential and commercial architects and designers with localized service, increased inventory and expedited product availability. In Florida alone, the company operates six sales and service branches.

“Our commitment to customers includes expanding distribution services in areas where we see a need,” stated Mark Seal, vice president of supply chain for Emser Tile. “We’re excited to further support our customers in Florida through this distribution center, which will be integral in providing expedited access to our expansive portfolio of tile and stone collections to meet their project timelines.”

To celebrate the opening, Emser Tile hosted a ribbon cutting on April 16 with local dignitaries in attendance, including Coral Springs vice mayor Joy Carter and economic development director Kristi Bartlett.

“We are honored that Emser Tile chose the city of Coral Springs to expand their stellar product line of tiles and stones,” shared Coral Springs vice mayor Joy Carter. “Its investment into the Corporate Park and the jobs created adds to the city’s continued growth. We look forward to working with them as a Community Partner!”

In response to regional demand and in support of Emser Tile’s growth strategy, Coral Springs was chosen as the ideal location based on its excellent highway infrastructure and proximity to Port Everglades and the Port of Miami, the company said, adding that the distribution center currently employees more than 30 associates.

“Emser Tile is a great example of another primary employer expanding into Coral Springs,” noted Coral Springs director of economic development Kristi Bartlett. “The Corporate Park location is ideal, providing access to two major ports for distribution across the nation.”

Emser Tile’s Florida Distribution Center in Coral Springs is located at 4030 NW 126th Avenue.

Read more here.

In the News – New Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions on Ceramic Tile Products from China

In the News – New Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions on Ceramic Tile Products from China

The Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile (“petitioner”), on April 10, 2019, filed antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petitions on imports of ceramic tile products from China.

The U.S. AD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States at less than “normal value.” The U.S. CVD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States with the benefit of foreign government subsidies. For AD/CVD duties to be imposed, the U.S. government must determine not only that dumping and/or subsidies are occurring, but also that there is “material injury” (or threat thereof) by reason of the dumped and/or subsidized imports. Importers are liable for any potential AD/CVD duties imposed. In addition, these investigations could impact purchasers by increasing prices and/or decreasing supply of ceramic tile products.


The merchandise covered by these investigations is ceramic tile. Ceramic tiles are articles containing a mixture of minerals including clay (generally hydrous silicates of alumina or magnesium) that are treated to develop a fired bond. The subject merchandise includes ceramic flooring tile, wall tile, paving tile, hearth tile, porcelain tile, mosaic tile, finishing tile, and the like (hereinafter “ceramic tile”). All ceramic tile is subject to the scope regardless of whether the tile is glazed or unglazed, regardless of size, regardless of the water absorption coefficient by weight, regardless of the extent of vitrification, and regardless of whether or not the tile is on a backing. Ceramic tile is covered by the scope regardless of end use, size, thickness, and weight. For the avoidance of doubt, subject merchandise includes tiles pressed as very large single pieces, up to and exceeding 5’ x 15’.

Subject merchandise includes ceramic tile produces in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that undergoes minor processing in a third country prior to importation into the United States. Similarly, subject merchandise includes ceramic tile produces in the PRC that undergoes minor processing after importation into the United States. Such minor processing includes, but is not limited to, one or more of the following: beveling, cutting, trimming, staining, painting, polishing, finishing, or any other processing that would otherwise not remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the in-scope product.

The scope excludes ceramic bricks properly classified under HTSUS 6904.10.0010 through 6904.90.0000.

Subject merchandise is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) under the following subheadings of heading 6907: 6907.21.1005, 6907.21.1011, 6907.21.1051, 6907.21.2000, 6907.21.3000, 6907.21.4000, 6907.21.9011, 6907.21.9051, 6907.22,1005, 6907.22.1011, 6907.22.1051, 6907.22.2000, 6907.22.3000, 6907.22.4000, 6907.22.9011, 6907.22.9051, 6907.23.1005, 6907.23.1011, 6907.23.1051, 6907.23.2000, 6907.23.3000, 6907.23.4000, 6907.23.9011, 6907.23.9051, 6907.30.1005, 6907.30.1011, 6907.30.1051, 6907.30.2000, 6907.30.3000, 6907.30.4000, 6907.30.9011, 6907.30.9051, 6907.40.1005, 6907.40.1011, 6907.40.1051, 6907.40.2000, 6907.40.3000, 6907.40.4000, 6907.40.9011, and 6907.40.9051. Subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings of headings 6914 and 6905: 6914.10.8000, 6914.90.8000, 6905.10.0000, and 6905.90.0050. The HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes only. The written description of the scope of these investigations is dispositive.

Alleged Dumping Margins

The petitioner alleges dumping margins of 178.22 percent to 428.58 percent.

Estimated Schedule of Investigations

  • April 10, 2019 – Petition is filed
  • April 30, 2019 – DOC initiates investigation
  • May 1, 2019 – ITC staff conference
  • May 27, 2019 – Deadline for ITC preliminary injury determinations
  • July 5, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if not postponed
  • September 9, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if fully postponed
  • September 17, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if not postponed
  • November 6, 2019 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if fully postponed
  • March 23, 2020 – Deadline for DOC final AD determinations, if both preliminary and final determinations are fully postponed
  • May 5, 2020 – Deadline for ITC final injury determinations, assuming fully postponed DOC deadlines

Get more information at The National Law Review

In the news: Brazil’s natural Stone exports for 2018

Abirochas „Informe 1/2019“.

In South America, too, engineered stone is playing an increasingly important role

The good news first, even if it is a questionable achievement from the point of view of the natural stone branch: Brazil’s exports in engineered stone and quartz composites amounted to 3.8 million US-$ or 6.5 t in 2018 according to Abirochas’ publication „Informe 1/2019“.

The footnote by the authors at Kistemann & Chiodi Consultants was most interesting: „… this deserves to be noticed and a follow-up“. In the past few years they never tired to warn of the emerging engineered stone.

Is this a sign of change in Brazil’s natural stone economy, e.g.: if you can’t beat them, join them – and exploit the earnings along the way (quote: „be noticed and a follow-up“).

After all: one of the big fish in the branch, namely Grupo Guidoni, stated just that in an interview with and has already invested considerable sums of money in production sites and material at home and in Spain (see below).

Note: even in the diamond branch, synthetic stones have suddenly appeared on the market. DeBeers, leader in the branch, recently jumped on the bandwagon and began producing synthetic diamonds. The aim, as we had reported: was to have a say in the market and do keep prices considerably lower than those of real diamonds.

Back to Abirochas’ statistics. We restrict our report to keywords as the statistics merely confirm the trend of the last few years:

* Exports in natural stone production amounted to 992.55 US-$ in 2018. That was -10.35% as compared to the year prior;
* in tons the exports made up 2.2 million (-6.88%);
* the value-added products were down (-)13.6%;
* the current mean price was 452 US-$/t (2017: 477 US-$/t);
* the USA what with a quota of 59.9% are by far the most important target market by value (2017: 12.3%);
* China’s share as target of Brazil’s stone exports rose to 14% by value (2017: 12,3%);
* Brazil also saw a local increase in consumption of engineered stone.

Read more here.

In the news : CTDA is excited to announce the 2019 Supplier of the Year, Crossville, Inc!

Last night at CTDA’s Coverings Happy Hour, Crossville, Inc. was announced as the Supplier of the Year. This is Crossville’s THIRD time winning this award and is the first supplier to do so!

The Supplier of the Year award, which is voted on by CTDA’s members, recognizes domestic and international supplier(s) who provide the most value to our distributor members and the ceramic tile and stone industry.

Congratulations, Crossville, Inc.!


Read more here.