LONDON Tin prices and
premiums could rise in the coming months on tighter
availability, market sources said.
Indonesian regulations on
refined tin exports are set to tighten considerably July 1,
leading to lower availability in the market and pushing prices
up to levels seen earlier in the year of about $25,000 per
"Hopefully, prices have found a
base. If you look at the fundamentals of tin on their own,
theyre not bad at all," a sales agent told AMM
sister publication Metal Bulletin.
The Indonesian government has
said that exported material must have a tin content of at least
99.9 percent, and that ingots may be shipped only by registered
exporters approved by the trade ministry.
Ahead of the change in
regulations, Indonesian exports have been high, according to
figures published by the International Tin Research Institute
(ITRI). Preliminary data showed that March refined tin exports
of nearly 9,296 tonnes were up 11.3 percent from the previous
But this is expected to change
once the regulations are put in place.
"In the last few months, metal
has been pouring out of Indonesia at a constant rate," the
sales agent said. "(When the regulations change), its the
lead content that will be the crucial issue. The question is,
can the producers put out material with only 100 ppm (parts per
million of lead)and I think almost certainly not." This
will limit the amount of tin coming out of Indonesia still
"I suspect Indonesian exports
will plummet from now on. The other thing coming up is the
conflict minerals status (of smelters)," he said. This is
especially important for smelters in Africa, including the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, where
conflict-free status is of paramount importance.
ITRI is responsible for the
Conflict-Free Tin Initiative in conjunction with the government
of the Netherlands. It uses the ITRI tin supply chain
initiative to carry out due diligence and traceability, and is
already in place in parts of the DRC.
"This is going to be an
interesting period. When (the price) drops, it drops like a
stone, although it seems to have found a base between $20,000
and $21,000 per tonne," the sales agent said. "As time
progresses, things should improve, however. Going forward,
its a very tight market. Weve only got to have (the
global economy) turn around a bit, and the deficit in tin will
show itself quite quickly."
Tin has been in surplus in
recent months, he added, but this is likely to change,
especially as Chinese consumers of unrefined tin may be forced
to look elsewhere for feedstock following the change in
Indonesian export regulations.
in-warehouse Rotterdam tin premiums stand at $400 to $500 per
tonne for 99.85-percent material and $500 to $600 per tonne for
A version of this article was first published in AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.