ITA understands that two of Indonesia’s three largest smelters, including PT Timah, have now restarted exporting tin. Exports in February stood at 55 tonnes, representing a marginal increase from January, and a 98% decrease from February 2023.

Trading on the Jakarta Futures Exchange (JFX) resumed on 05 March and 1,780 tonnes of tin have since been traded on various contracts. Trading has not yet resumed on the Indonesian Commodities & Derivatives Exchange (ICDX), which generally represents the smaller private smelters. Since a regulatory overhaul in 2014, all refined tin for export must first be sold on either the JFX or ICDX. Refined tin exports in January stood at 0.4 tonnes (99% decrease year-on-year), while exports edged higher to 55 tonnes (98% decrease year-on-year) in February.

Licensing continues to be delayed, nickel is facing similar challenges, with further complications from the ongoing investigation into alleged historical irregularities in the domestic tin trade in Indonesia. There have been unconfirmed reports that several smaller private smelters now have their work plans and cost budgets (RKAB), however, ITA has not been able to validate these. For now, the majority of tin smelters in Indonesia have not exported any tin in 2024.

Traders in Asia have commented on the difficulty of sourcing tin due to the lack of Indonesian output. While consumption in Europe remains suppressed by macroeconomic conditions, traders in Europe have commented that tin is increasingly difficult to source, with shipments additionally delayed by continuing disruption in the Red Sea.

Our view: While the resumption of production is welcome to international markets, further extended licensing delays indicate that exports may remain suppressed for some time. In China, a feedstock squeeze due to the cessation of tin mining in Myanmar’s Wa State since 01 August 2023 adds increased uncertainty when combined with the loss of Indonesian supply which accounted for 73% of China’s refined tin imports in 2023.

PT Timah is a member of the International Tin Association.