Latest official customs statistics released by China yesterday showed that the country’s tin ore and concentrate imports from Myanmar totalled just 8,641 tonnes (gross weight) in February 2016, down 88% from 72,436 tonnes in January and down 53.0% year-on-year.
The February figure represents the lowest monthly total since September 2014. It is understood that the Chinese Spring Festival holiday was the main reason for the drop. However, the record high exports reported from Myanmar in January are believed to have almost entirely depleted warehouse stocks of tin ore and concentrate in the border port, which will have also contributed to the far lower levels of activity and exports in February.
ITRI View: A return to higher levels of production and transportation of tin ore has been seen in early March and it is expected that reported exports will rise to more normal levels. Allowing for the fact that production is now at a seasonal peak, the gross weight of shipments in March and April are likely to be in the order of 40,000 tonnes, or some 5,000 tpm contained tin. Volumes will then start to drop with the onset of the wet season.