Indonesian tin exports robust in Q1
Indonesian tin exports totalled 18,018 tonnes in Q1, up by 3.1% compared to the final quarter of 2016, and up 86% year-on-year. Exports in January, February and March, totalled 6,964 tonnes, 4,911 tonnes and 6,143 tonnes respectively, varying in broad relation to the tin price.
The preliminary data released to news agencies by the trade ministry is based on pre-shipment checks performed by surveyor companies, and include small volumes of solder and other tin products (less than 108 tonnes in Q1) as well as refined tin ingots.
ITRI View: The large year-on-year increase is reflective of disruptions to exports in the first quarter of 2016 by monsoon flooding, smelter audits and difficulties and delays in renewing export permits. While the rainy season is understood to have had some impact on mine production in 2017, the export permit process has been far smoother this year. The dip in exports in February is understood to be mainly related to the tin price. Many smelters in the country are operating on tight margins, with some understood to have paused production when prices dropped below US$19,000/tonne in February before resuming when prices recovered above $20,000/tonne.