China refined tin imports dropped 69% from 1,070 tonnes in April to 333 tonnes in May. The May figure also represents a 48% reduction compared to the same month of 2014. Although the arbitrage gap was wider than in April, a lack of market interest and sufficient Chinese domestic tin supply meant refined tin and other tin product imports did not increase as expected. The accumulated refined tin imports from January to May amounted to 2,762 tonnes, broadly level with last year.
China tin concentrate imports rose by 61% year-on-year to 21,715 tonnes (gross weight) in May, where imports gradually returned to normal levels from the high volumes reported for April. The tin concentrate continues to come from Myanmar, where the local government taxes the tin mining companies by taking a proportion of tin concentrate produced. A local trader reported that the sharp increase in imports in April was caused by release of this government stock. As the rainy season comes, production and transportation will become difficult; government stocks will fall further and tin exports from Myanmar will be reduced. China tin concentrate imports from January to May totalled 113,051 tonnes (gross weight) this year, a 79% increase compared to the same period of 2014.