Data released by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade (MOT) on 11 January 2019 revealed that Indonesia exported 5,260 tonnes of refined tin in December, up 51% on the previous month. However, in Q4, exports totalled some 13,800 tonnes, the lowest quarterly total in 2018.
Year-on-year, December shipments were down on 2017 by 25%. In 2018, Indonesian tin exports totalled 75,677 tonnes, down just 3% from 78,190 tonnes in 2017. The total volume of tin traded through the ICDX in 2018, 75,310 tonnes, matched the pre-shipment check figure closely.
Our View: The MOT export figures include mostly refined tin, along with small volumes of tin products. Lower shipment volumes in 2018 can be primarily attributed to the private smelter export halt in Q4. A ruling in October for private smelters has effectively forced smelters to seek alternate ore and ingot verification, presenting an on-going barrier to tin exports. Despite this, PT Timah uses a different verification agency, PT Sucofindo, and has been able to continue metal shipments. The disruption in Q4 2018 followed shipment interruption earlier in the year due to the delayed granting of export quotas in Q1 and export licenses in Q2. We expect Indonesian shipments and production will remain exposed to the risk of periodical regulatory disruption in 2019.