Tin Market Update (August 30, 2012)

Tin prices rose in the last month, with spot tin selling for $20,675 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange as of August 28. Back in July the metal settled at $18,475 a tonne on the LME.

The price rise was the result of a cut in exports from Indonesia, the world’s number one supplier of tin, owing to weak tin prices. The country shuttered 90 percent of its tin smelters the fourth week of August, with just one or two of the 28 smelters in the main tin-producing area of Bangka-Belitung still operating. That cut production from about 7,000 tonnes of tin ingots a month to 4,000 tonnes.

On August 29, however, prices dived by 6.9 percent after it was announced that PT Timah, the largest tin miner in Indonesia, restarted spot sales.

While tin has slipped dramatically from a a six-month high of $25,650 reached on February 8, hampered by slowdowns in primary metal-consuming nations China, Europe and the United States, analyst say the metal is poised for a recovery due to a looming supply shortage.

Resource Investing News reported this week that tin will lead a stable of 13 commodities poised for growth by 2016, according to a recent CRU report. While tin production and consumption is likely to be lower in 2012, a price resurgence is expected in 2013.

“The tin market is increasingly under-supplied and there is a dearth of new high quality projects in the pipeline to replace falling output from current mines,” the study found. “The few projects that are due to come on stream will fall far short of delivering the volume of metal required to meet forecast demand. The tin market will remain exceptionally tight through to 2016, which will be reflected in prices.”