Customs figures released earlier today show that the gross weight of China’s tin ore and concentrate imports in September totalled 17,802 tonnes (estimated at 2,100t contained tin), up 75% year-on-year but equal to less than half of the August total. 98% of imports originated from Myanmar, where the rainy season has caused a seasonal dip in production.
Total imports for the year to September amounted to 347,255 tonnes (of which 345,885 tonnes, or some 41,000t contained tin was from Myanmar), up by 90% compared to the same period of last year. While China’s ore and concentrate imports fell in September, imports of refined tin rose to 1,086 tonnes, up 37% year-on-year, with year-to-date imports totalling 6,551 t, down 11.3% compared to the first 9 months of 2015.Tin exports during the month totalled just 2 tonnes, bringing year-to-date exports to 727 tonnes.
ITRI View: The September total represents the first major dip in Myanmar tin exports in seven months, with monthly exports ranging between 36,000t and 48,000t in the interim period. September has been an annual low point for exports over the last four years, with the occasional exception of low activity in February due to the Chinese New Year. However, a recovery in exports is expected from October onwards as the weather improves. Evidence gathered from a recent visit by Reuters to Man Maw has reasserted our longer term view that production from the area is in decline, as production costs rise due to falling grades and a transition to underground mining following depletion of open pit resources.