According to China’s latest customs statistics, the country’s imports of tin ore and concentrate from Myanmar totaled 7,942 tonnes in March 2018 with an estimated tin content of 2,000 tonnes, down 59% from February and 55% year-on-year.
The estimated tin metal content of imports from Myanmar in Q1 totalled some 18,000 tonnes, up 31% compared to the same period last year. Trade data also reveals that China’s refined tin and alloy imports in March totalled 272 tonnes, while exports totalled 649 tonnes.
Our view: We had anticipated the low shipment volume of ~2,000 tonnes in March following communication with market participants at the end of March. The low shipments are partly the result of long holidays of Chinese Spring Festival in addition to low stock levels and weaker mining activity. To our knowledge, no significant new deposits have been discovered in the local area and tin mining is reliant on re-mining of old mine sites. At the end of March, just 30% of local processing plant capacity was being utilized. Industry participants continue to forecast a sharp decline of Myanmar shipments this year.