Japan’s refined tin imports in 2013 amounted to 27,190 tonnes, marginally ahead of the 27,096 tonnes imported in 2012. One notable feature of the latest data is that the downward trend in Indonesia’s share of the market has continued, falling to 45.1% last year from 54.9% in the previous year. This is likely to partly reflect the lack of availability of Indonesian tin between September and November, due to the changes in the country’s export regulations.
Meanwhile the trade data shows rising shares for Thailand (up from 29.9% to 32.6%), Malaysia (from 8.1% to 8.9%) and other countries (from 7.1% to 13.3%). The main smaller suppliers were Vietnam and Bolivia, each with around 3% of the market, while Peru emerged as a new supplier from October onwards. By December Peru’s share had risen to almost 8% of imports, just behind Malaysia and Thailand.
ITRI View: While imports were flat in 2013, we believe there was a rise of around 4% in actual refined tin use in Japan last year, based on our own provisional survey data. Availability of tin in Japan was boosted by rising secondary refined metal production.