Tin Industry Review 2020

Updated Executive Summary 2021

This is the sixth edition of a series of major studies on the tin market and its outlook published by the International Tin Association since 2008. This 120-page report covers all aspects of the tin market, from global mine production to forecasts for refined tin consumption.

A decade that began with the rise of China’s economic powerhouse, increasingly optimistic cooperative globalisation and a set of emerging economies is ending with the unprecedented global shocks of a US-China trade war followed by a coronavirus pandemic whose full impact is yet to be measured. The outlook for tin might seem more uncertain than ever. However, despite tin prices being badly hit, with the lowest prices since the recession, tin fundamentals remain strong. Medium to long-term demand prospects are very positive as tin starts to free itself from the chokehold of electronics miniaturisation and catch the next wave of climate change and technology-driven market opportunities.

On the supply side, tin projects totalling 50,000 tonnes of annual tin-in-concentrate production are scheduled to enter the tin market by 2025. However, many are in the early stages of development, while others have been shelved following the downturn in tin prices. We forecast the real increase to be much lower. As a result, we expect the refined tin market to enter a significant deficit after 2023.

All of the key questions which will determine the outlook for the industry are considered in depth and answered objectively, including:

  • Will miniaturisation of electronics continue to impact tin demand, or is its effect fading?
  • Are there new market opportunities for tin outside of traditional uses?
  • After a period of under-investment, will new tin mines be able to obtain the financing to get off the ground?
  • Will recycling play an increasing role in balancing supply and demand?

The updated Executive Summary provides insight into the effect of the coronavirus pandemic that gripped the global economy during 2020 on the tin industry. Despite tin’s recovery since the pandemic, markets remain turbulent; the Executive Summary also lays out ITA’s view on the next few years as the market returns to normal.