NEW YORK Grade A tin spot
premiums held firm amid tepid business in the first month of
A few small spot deals were
closed, but January was quiet for the most part, which has kept
AMMs spot premiums for Grade A tin between $600
and $750 per tonne.
"January started off relatively
slow. There was a little pickup, but not great," one trader
"Demand is off," a producer
source said, attributing it to the slowing economy. "I think
well just keep bubbling along here."
"(You can get) some Grade A at
$750, (but) there are some cheaper numbers around, too," a
Although premiums for Grade A
material are unchanged, contract premiums for higher-purity,
low-lead material have experienced an uptick, rising to $800 to
$850 per tonne, up $50 to $100 per tonne from last year.
A second producer source who
books most of his business on contract said he was able to
secure 2013 business for low-lead material at premiums between
$700 and $800 per tonne, while a second trader said premiums
have bumped up to $800 to $850 per tonne.
Sources cited a combination of
rising tin prices and higher freight costs for the premium
increase for the higher-purity, low-lead material.
Three-month tin ended the Feb. 1
official session on the London Metal Exchange at $24,850 per
tonne, down 1 percent from $25,100 the previous day but up 2.1
percent from $24,345 at the beginning of January.
While high tin prices may
encourage consumers to push for lower premiums, the second
trader is not convinced theyll be able to talk the
numbers down. "(When) tin prices go up, so too do all the other
costs. Theres maintenance charges, interest charges, the
cost of financing. Ocean freights have gone up and inland
freights have gone up. (Consumers) have no alternative at the
moment. If they dont accept premiums (are higher) then
they wont get any tin," he said.
"(Low-lead) is up a little bit.
Just slightly up, but not much," the first producer source
Supply also is a concern, the
consumer said. "There are no new mines coming on. And the
quality of some of the ore (bodies) have been coming down,
(which drops) the amount of tin available. Some premiums will
go up as availability becomes less prevalent."