Imports of tin concentrate by China from Myanmar fell by 34% from May to 22,260 tonnes in June according to the latest China customs statistics, with an estimated tin content of some 5,500 tonnes, down 20%.
Estimated Chinese tin ore imports (metal content) from all sources in H1 2017 totalled 30,800 tonnes, effectively unchanged from the same period of 2016, with Myanmar responsible for over 98% of the total. The June trade statistics also reveal that tin product exports totalled 472 tonnes while export of refined tin and alloys totalled 99 tonnes.
ITRI View: Despite the onset of the wet season in Myanmar, concentrate supply has not yet been impacted to the degree we had expected, with tin content of exports to China in June still 43% higher than June 2016. While the impact of heavy rainfall is understood to have been more severe in July, there is uncertainty over the size of tin ore and concentrate stocks built up by the local producers and the Wa government. While weaker tin-in-concentrate supply in the wet season should limit Chinese imports from Myanmar in the coming months, the sale of local stock could well be an opposing factor that prevents any significant decline in volumes.