Indonesian tin exports in December totalled 7,056 tonnes according to preliminary figures released by the trade ministry this week, down 11% month-on-month but up 17% year-on-year. 22,610 tonnes of tin was shipped from in Q4, up 29% year-on-year and the highest quarterly total since Q2 2014.

The December latest figures are based on pre-shipment checks made by surveying companies and include 9 tonnes of tin solder as well as refined metal ingots. Total shipments for 2017 amounted to 78,190 tonnes, up 23% compared to 2016, including 952 tonnes of solder and 77,238 tonnes of refined tin ingots. The volume of tin reported for the year following pre-shipment checks matches closely with ICDX trading volumes in 2017, which totalled 77,970 tonnes.

ITRI View: Higher shipment volumes in 2017 can primarily be attributed to the 12% year-on-year increase in average tin prices, which has strongly re-incentivised domestic tin mining output following 2016 price lows. Severe flooding and disruption from government actions to further regulate the sector impacted production in early 2016 but had less of an effect in 2017, which also helped tin output recover. We expect stricter government regulation of Indonesia’s tin industry and long-term production pressures such as grade decline and resource depletion to impact tin production and shipments this year. As such we are provisionally forecasting Indonesian refined tin production of 72,500 tonnes in 2018. However, this figure remains subject to significant uncertainty, particularly as Indonesian production levels remain highly sensitive to global tin price fluctuations.