Indonesian tin exports totalled 17,184 tonnes in Q1, down 4.6% year on year and 24% lower than the final quarter of 2017. Trade Ministry data for January, February and March showed tin exports totalling 4,508 tonnes, 7,207 tonnes and 5,469 tonnes respectively.
This preliminary data released to news agencies by the trade ministry is based on pre-shipment checks performed by surveyor companies. It refers mainly to shipments of refined tin ingots but also includes small volumes of solder and other tin products.
Our View: The low volumes of tin shipments in January were related to delays granting new export licence renewals to smelters. Exports recovered in February as producers were gradually granted these permits. In March shipments fell significantly again. We understand the recent disruption is related to a moratorium on export licence recommendations by one of the government ministries and is affecting large and small producers. Shipments may also have been limited by production issues at a major Indonesian private smelter and the usual impact of wet season on Indonesian mine output. We understand that there has been a modest build-up in tin stocks held in ICDX warehouses and therefore that the backlog of refined tin could be shipped quite rapidly once the current export licence issue is resolved.