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Markets // Market Analysis

Myanmar ore exports continue year-on-year decline

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Latest official China customs statistics reveal that March imports of tin ore and concentrate from Myanmar totalled 20,058 tonnes (gross weight), up 132% from February, but down 58% year-on-year.

There has been an obvious decline in shipments from Myanmar in the first quarter of 2017, with total ore volumes down 53% on the same period of 2016 to 60,059 tonnes. However, this year the average tin content of the ore and concentrates is higher because of technological improvements at the local processing plants. Despite this, our overall estimates of tin metal content in the imported ore and concentrate in Q1 2017, at between 12,000 and 14,000 tonnes, is still much lower than the 20,000 tonnes estimated for the same period of last year.

ITRI View: The higher level of imports last year was partly because of local government and miner destocking in Wa, but the decline of imports in this year has also reflected the fact that concentrate output is falling. It has been reported that the ore stockpiles in Wa's Man Maw mining district have been significantly depleted. These stocks supported high concentrate production in the second half of 2016 and hence the level of ore and concentrate shipments is unlikely to be maintained this year if the underlying mine production can't be improved. In the absence of new resource discoveries, supply from Wa should remain at a relatively lower level. In addition, supply should also be impacted by the wet season from June to October.

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