Market for Tin

Tin – A Supply Side Story

  • The current price of tin, at around $21,000/t, is insufficient to make most known tin projects in the western world economically attractive, although many would have profitable operations at this price. A major price rise seems imminent; ITRI is forecasting circa $40,000/t by year end 2014.
  • With the exception of Australia, tin production is either static or declining.
  • San Rafael closes in 2017 –a loss of ~30,000tpy, or ~10% of global mine output.
  • Indonesia faces continued declining grades and falling production.
  • Bolivia’s strange politics will ensure no new significant tin production there.
  • Without new mines, a minimum 75,000tpy tin deficit seems likely for 2017/2018.
  • Recycling of tin scrap plugged the recent supply gap, but has now peaked at around 60-65,000tpy.
  • Tin usage per item is very small. For example, an average cellphone uses 0.7g, worth 1.5c. The price of tin is not a consideration for most consumers, only its assured availability.


Tin Solder
Tin solder – essential for IT

Tin ousts copper as metal market darling

A price squeeze on the back of an Indonesian market rule change has seen tin jump to the head of the LME performance tables this year and the equity market is taking notice.

Author: Alex Williams

Posted: Tuesday , 15 Oct 2013


LONDON (Mineweb) -

Tin prices are being held at seven-month highs by a Jakarta market rule change that has all-but blocked exports from Indonesia, the world’s largest finished tin producer.

The price squeeze makes tin the best performer on the London Metals Exchange this year, helping to displace copper as the metal market darling and winning increased investor attention to the tin mining sector.

Export figures published by Indonesia’s Trade Ministry last week showed a collapse in finished tin exports to 786 tonnes, equal to an 88 per cent drop from August levels.

Cargoes have been blocked by regulations prohibiting shipments unless they are dealt through the country’s central commodities exchange, as part of efforts to formalise Indonesia’s tin trade and challenge the LME as the global tin price benchmark.

The challenge has stoked rising trader confidence in tin prices, with attendees polled at this month’s LME Week fleeing copper as their top metal pick. Macquarie Bank’s 2013 LME Week Survey showed that aluminium and copper are the metals that traders are most likely to short in the coming 12 months, whilst lead and tin are jointly the most popular long position, together garnering close to two-thirds of the vote.

Whilst a barometer of market sentiment, polls are as much a trailing indicator as a leading one and are often relied on by contrarians to signal saturated market consensus. Last year, copper comfortably won the top long spot with 55 per cent of the vote, but has lost 13 per cent since October last year. Over the same period, tin has gained over 15 per cent to $23,325 per tonne.