AIRLINK 74.64 Decreased By ▼ -0.21 (-0.28%)
BOP 5.01 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (0.6%)
CNERGY 4.51 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.45%)
DFML 42.44 Increased By ▲ 2.44 (6.1%)
DGKC 87.02 Increased By ▲ 0.67 (0.78%)
FCCL 21.58 Increased By ▲ 0.22 (1.03%)
FFBL 33.54 Decreased By ▼ -0.31 (-0.92%)
FFL 9.66 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-0.62%)
GGL 10.43 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.19%)
HBL 114.29 Increased By ▲ 1.55 (1.37%)
HUBC 139.94 Increased By ▲ 2.50 (1.82%)
HUMNL 12.25 Increased By ▲ 0.83 (7.27%)
KEL 5.21 Decreased By ▼ -0.07 (-1.33%)
KOSM 4.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-2.81%)
MLCF 38.09 Increased By ▲ 0.29 (0.77%)
OGDC 139.16 Decreased By ▼ -0.34 (-0.24%)
PAEL 25.87 Increased By ▲ 0.26 (1.02%)
PIAA 22.20 Increased By ▲ 1.52 (7.35%)
PIBTL 6.80 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
PPL 123.58 Increased By ▲ 1.38 (1.13%)
PRL 26.81 Increased By ▲ 0.23 (0.87%)
PTC 14.01 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.28%)
SEARL 58.53 Decreased By ▼ -0.45 (-0.76%)
SNGP 68.01 Decreased By ▼ -0.94 (-1.36%)
SSGC 10.47 Increased By ▲ 0.17 (1.65%)
TELE 8.39 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.12%)
TPLP 11.05 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.09%)
TRG 63.21 Decreased By ▼ -0.98 (-1.53%)
UNITY 26.59 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.15%)
WTL 1.42 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-2.07%)
BR100 7,941 Increased By 103.5 (1.32%)
BR30 25,648 Increased By 196 (0.77%)
KSE100 75,983 Increased By 868.6 (1.16%)
KSE30 24,445 Increased By 330.8 (1.37%)

LONDON: Tin’s rollercoaster ride spins into the New Year, promising more thrills and spills after a tumultuous performance in 2022.

London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month tin hit an all-time high of $51,000 per tonne in March before slumping to $17,350 in October, at which point it was below many operators’ production costs.

The price rebound has been equally ferocious, with tin currently trading just below the $30,000 level, up 17% on the start of the month, making it the strongest performer among the LME base metals.

The suspension of operations at Peruvian producer Minsur’s San Raphael mine due to social unrest has fanned the bull flames. However, arguably more significant to market dynamics has been the strength of China’s import appetite.

Last year’s price collapse reflected a robust post-COVID supply recovery coupled with a drop in solder demand from the electronics sector after the lockdown boom of 2020 and 2021. Chinese buyers have scooped up much of the resulting surplus metal, leaving the rest of the world more finely balanced than expected.

IMPORT BOOM

China imported 31,115 tonnes of refined tin last year, up from just 4,900 tonnes in 2021 and the highest volume since 2012. The flow of unwrought metal was two-way. China also exported 10,733 tonnes of tin, mostly to Asian neighbours. But 2,025 tonnes were also dispatched to the Netherlands, attesting to the lingering tightness in parts of the physical supply chain outside of China.

However, the heavy volumes of inbound shipments meant that net imports of 20,380 tonnes were also the highest in a decade.

The largest supplier last year was Indonesia, imports jumping to 24,800 tonnes from 3,500 in 2021. Indonesia lifted its total tin exports by 14% in 2021 and by another 5% in 2022. At 78,117 tonnes, last year’s tally was the highest since 2017, but the market impact has been much diminished by China’s buying spree.

China’s own production of refined tin was flat year-on-year at 165,900 tonnes in 2022, according to Shanghai Metal Market. Any domestic raw materials tightness should have been alleviated by a 32% rise in tin concentrate imports, including a 27% increase from top supplier Myanmar. With Chinese tin demand also taking a lockdown hit last year, the strength of imports suggests a major restocking exercise into a falling price environment

Tin’s subsequent sharp price recovery will be a test of China’s continued hunger for imported units.

SHIFTING SURPLUS

However, China’s imports have already changed tin’s supply-demand landscape. At least part of last year’s surplus is now sitting in China. Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) tin stocks have rebuilt from under 2,000 tonnes as recently as September to a current 6,843 tonnes, the highest since May 2021. Stocks registered with the LME, by contrast, have fallen from over 5,000 tonnes to 2,945 tonnes over the same timeframe.

LME time-spreads have slipped into contango this month, suggesting the availability of more metal in the non-exchange shadows. Physical premiums have also been easing, Fastmarkets assessing metal in Rotterdam at a mid-point of $1,000 per tonne over LME cash, compared with a 2021 peak of $1,750.

Comments

Comments are closed.