Favourable price arbitrage since the end of September should have encouraged Chinese tin exports, at least for tin products which are exempt from the 10% export duty charged on refined tin ingot. However this is not evident in the latest official trade statistics published yesterday, and meanwhile sales of duty-free non-ingot products are reported to have been virtually halted. China customs investigated a few tin and solder companies recently who were accused of illegal exports and tax fraud in the last year. Some of the owners have been arrested. The clamp-down has shocked exporters and local sources reported that no one would like to take the risk to export tin products now.
Comparisons of China export and third country import statistics show a large difference between reported tin metal trade flows. The latest official data shows China exported 40t of refined tin in September and 65t in January to September. However receipts of refined tin from China reported by importing countries amounted to over 2,200 tonnes, based on incomplete data up to August.
The main highlight of the latest customs figures was the decline in receipts of ore and concentrates from Myanmar. China tin concentrate imports fell by 17% in September compared with August to 11,044 tonnes (gross weight) according to the latest official data. But the latest month’s total was still 43% higher than in last September. The total imports in January to September in 2015 were 182,313t, 59% higher than the same period of last year. 9,984t (gross weight) tin ore and concentrate were imported from Myanmar in September, which accounted for 90% of the total imports in the month. The imports from Myanmar declined greatly from June to September because of the rainy season there. Ore imports are expected to continue to decline in October but could increase from November after the rainy season ends.