Sept. 26 (SMM) -- China imported 1,605 tonnes of refined tin in August, the highest level since August 2010, according to the latest China Customs data. Although the import of refined tin in August is up by 123% m-o-m, the total import in January-August of this year still decreased by 44% y-o-y. The August total is lower than expected by industry insiders. China's domestic price has been at a huge premium compared with LME from August (the record is close to $7,000/t), which should have attracted a lot more refined tin imported into China. The main reason may be that shipments from LME Asian warehouses have delayed. We also understand that some imports were blocked at bonded areas in China by customs officials as the declaration price was too low. So we expect to see more imports show up in the September and October trade data.
The China domestic price held above RMB 190,000 yuan ($29,600) in the past one and a half months although the LME price was around or below $ 24,000. Now the China price has broken below RMB 190,000 as the LME price has crashed. While the fall in LME prices reflects market concerns on the global economic outlook, the fall in Chinese prices may also reflect softer demand from the domestic solder industry.