China’s refined tin imports in January amounted to 732t, down by 69% on January 2013. Volumes have been quite flat since August 2013, affected by the Indonesian supply bottleneck and ever growing quantities of tin concentrate import. Refined tin imports did however increase by 16% compared to December 2013, partially owing to stock building ahead of the Spring Festival holiday.
China imported 18,966t (gross weight) of tin concentrate in January, a 7.4% rise YOY. Myanmar is still the biggest origin, accounting for more than 92% of the imports, although a high proportion of this trade is believed to be accounted for by low grade (less than 15% Sn) semi-processed ore.
January refined tin exports amounted to only 67t, up by 270% compared to January 2013 but down by 86% compared to December exports of 475t. The exports went back to a normal low level since the differential between China and LME prices was non-profitable.
Statistics on China’s overall trade balance in all products at the start of the year sent out positive signals. 10% increases in China’s total imports and exports in January indicated both better domestic demand and a global economic recovery.