Tin Free Fall: Indonesian Export Quotas Not Being Followed

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Since 2014, tin prices have done anything but fall and 2015 is turning to be an even worse year for tin producers.

Free Download: Latest Metal Price Trends in the June MMI Report

In 2014 tin fell 15% while in 2015 prices are down 24% on the year to date. As you know, base metals are in a falling market but at least we have seen other metals make unsuccessful attempts to rally. Tin prices haven’t even made an effort to rally for the past 18 months.

3M LME Tin price 1 year out

3-month London Metal Exchange tin price one year out.

This year, tin exporters in Indonesia agreed to limit overseas sales to 4,500 metric tons a month. The limits were scheduled to go into effect in April which would have helped prices return to $23,000. However, as the government is still tightening exports and trading rules to limit shipments to the desired quota, the market constriction has not yet materialized.

According to data from Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, Indonesia exported 6,300 mt of tin in May, showing that the export limitation just isn’t happening.

Indonesian producers expected prices to rebound to $20,000 in the second half of the year as production was cut back. That scenario seems unlikely as tin is trading at $14,800/mt this month, below producers’ operating costs of more than $16,000/mt.

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