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Supply tightness to ease somewhat


Tin has had a strong start to the year. Having run up from its December low of $18,600 per tonne to $22,000 per tonne in late January, a phase of correction and consolidation set in. The rally was partly investors normalizing an overly bearish position, partly the weak dollar that has helped boost many commodity markets, and partly a reflection of supply concerns due to very low LME stocks and a temporary drop in Indonesian exports.

Although there is certainly a risk of prices racing beyond $22,000 per tonne in March, it seems more likely that they will fade further as tightness eases. So, for now, we maintain our Q1 average base case cash price forecast of $20,500 per tonne, below the quarter-to-date average of $21,022 per tonne. But stocks are still low and the market will be in deficit overall this year, so prices should return to their long-term upward trend once they have corrected their December-January spike.

In this regular section, Metal Bulletin Research’s base metals team summarise their in-depth reports to highlight key factors driving the markets and their short-term price forecasts. The weekly service, Base Metals Market Tracker, provides independent analysis and forecasts for base metals markets and prices.

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