In a statement filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange last week Yunnan Tin Company said it expected to report a net loss of RMB 555 – 565 million yuan (some US$ 90 million) in the first half of 2015 due to adverse market conditions and write-downs of asset values. This compared with a net profit of RMB 170 million yuan reported in the first half of 2014.
In the statement the company said that its operations were affected by falling prices of tin products in an oversupplied market. A weakening in demand in China, as well as increasing supply from tin mines in Myanmar, further lowered prices. The company also said it booked much higher asset impairment on inventories in the first half, also because of lower prices. However, earnings in the second quarter improved compared to the first quarter (for which a loss of RMB 307 million has been reported), as the company managed to lower operating costs. Full audited earnings are due to be reported on 28 August.
The slump in Chinese stock markets has resulted in YTC’s share price more than halving from its early-June peak and it was one of many companies which requested a temporary trading halt on 8 July – when trading in more than half of all Chinese listed companies was suspended. The company, which is the world’s largest tin producer, suspended production for 45 days at its main smelter from late April into June. This and other production cuts, plus a seasonal fall ore in imports from Myanmar, should help stabilize market conditions in the current quarter.