Moca Cream limestone blocks supply to China

China is by far the largest importer of raw blocks of natural stones, which includes limestones from Portugal such as the Moca Cream. After being found by the Chinese architects and contractors, the Moca Cream limestone demand has sky-rocketed and is today one of the main limestones that are exported to this market in terms of volume. Moca Cream limestone is today in China synonym of quality, uniformity and exclusivity. This explains the high demand for blocks of Moca Cream limestone that is today a reality and should be trending in years to come. On this article, we give you an insight into this market.

Which types of Moca Cream limestone blocks are most on demand?

The Chinese market has a strong preference for large sized blocks and this had been the trend for the past several years, where local retailers will sawn the blocks into slabs for the retail market. Here, large sized slabs are preferred. This has been the main reason why there has been a preference for large sized blocks.

However, in recent times and due to continuous large demand, Chinese clients have been accepting some medium-sized blocks in combination with the larger blocks. In addition to the retail market, the Moca Cream limestone has been used for projects, where smaller blocks with a more consistent selection are preferred.

In terms of selection, the Chinese market consumes almost the entire supply of Moca Cream Fine grain selection blocks, a selection that is very much appreciated in China due to its delicate and fine vein.

Moca Cream limestone fine grain

Who are the main exporters of Moca Cream limestone blocks to China?

There is a well-developed supply structure in place in Portugal to organize the export of Moca Cream limestone blocks to China. Generally 2-3 main Chinese buyers based in Portugal are responsible for the bulk of blocks export to China, which are then re-distributed with local importers.

The remaining blocks export market is occupied by the most relevant quarries that have enough extract capacity to supply a market like China, but also some trading companies with strong ties to China.

Moca Cream limestone quarry

Which importers or buyers in China are buying Moca Cream limestone blocks?

In addition to Chinese trading companies or stone companies importing Moca Cream limestone blocks directly from Portuguese quarries and suppliers, the bulk of the blocks imported to China go through the established supply structure that is in place. Large quantities of blocks are imported to China through this supply structure and are made available for local stone companies to purchase at any given time. This is a type of retail market for blocks that seem to operate well in China.


Why such a big demand for blocks of Moca Cream limestone and not for finished products?

China has an economic policy that benefits importers of raw materials that transform these raw materials into finished product in Chinese soil. The import duties that are paid on the import of Moca Cream limestone blocks are returned to the Chinese company if these blocks are manufactured in China and re-exported as finished product. This is a major benefit for importing raw blocks instead of finished products.

Additionally, the Chinese market has its own characteristics. For example, while in Portugal standard sawn slabs are produced with a thickness of 20mm or 30mm, in China these same slabs are produced with 17mm or 27mm. Like the sawn slabs, the Chinese market has specific finished product standards that are not in line with the Portuguese way of producing.

Moca Cream limestone blocks

What is the trend for 2020 in terms of Portuguese limestone blocks demand from China?

2020 is expected to be a year of continuity in terms of supply and demand of Moca Cream limestone blocks in the China market. Due to the unique look of the Moca Cream limestone with hardly any competitor, aligned with the fact that this limestone has become a regular choice in the Chinese building and decoration industries in China, 2020 is expected to start the same way as 2019 is ending: with a strong and continuous demand for Moca Cream limestone blocks.

Perhaps the only two questions that we have for 2020 are: will demand for smaller blocks increase or will there be a diversity in terms of block sizes on the Chinese supply? Will there be a higher demand for more medium grain selections? Regardless of how these questions shape up, the Moca Cream limestone quarries will have a busy year of 2020.