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Tin spot market flat as orders dwindle

Keywords: Tags  tin, Grade A tin, tin premiums, LME, London Metal Exchange, tin prices, Suzy Waite

NEW YORK — Tin markets ground to a halt as traders reported zero consumer interest.

"I was just taking a nap. (Business is) almost backwards," one trader told AMM.

"It’s slow. Pure and simple. I don’t know why. It shouldn’t be this time of year. Usually we’re running on all eight cylinders in March. It’s not a good omen," a second trader said.

"Very little is happening. It’s been pretty dull and uninteresting," a third trader confirmed.

Tepid business kept spot premiums for Grade A tin at $600 to $750 per tonne.

Electronics end markets appear to be taking a breather, the second trader said, noting that sluggish activity could be a result of ongoing budget cut stalemates in Washington.

"All of the crap that’s going on in Washington is causing uncertainty, which is keeping consumers from buying," the second trader said. "Business was traditionally slow in November and December, and usually when you walk in on Jan. 2 things start to (pick up). But there’s nothing happening."

It is concerning, particularly as equity markets have hit new five-year highs, the second trader added.

"It should be busier. But our customers’ customers’ customers’ just aren’t ordering. ... Granted, it is only the seventh of March and it only takes a couple of orders to change a mood. But when you’re in sales and you’re not selling, you’re not in a good mood," he said.

"We’ve reached a point where everybody is sitting on enough (material) so less new business is created," the third trader said.

The declining price of tin on the London Metal Exchange has done little to spur consumer interest, traders said.

Three-month tin closed the LME’s official session at $23,525 per tonne March 7, up slightly from $23,275 per tonne March 4 but down 6.3 percent from this year’s high of $25,100 per tonne Jan. 31.

"It’s down today, but people are waiting for lower prices," the first trader said.

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