SHANGHAI, Oct 8 (SMM) – China's imports of tin concentrate shrank 18% on the year to stand at 3,858 mt in metal content in August, with cargoes from Myanmar falling to 3,553 mt, according to SMM calculations based on the latest customs data.
Imports in August came in at 12,860 mt in physical content, with material from Myanmar taking up 11,844 mt. The imports also slipped from July due to transport disruption in Muse of south Myanmar.
Dwindling resources and lower grades affected mining and exports of tin ore from the main producing area in Myanmar's Wa State this year. The recent weakening of tin prices also depressed local production.
Tight supply of tin ore drove down feedstock inventories at smelters and social warehouses in China, affecting treatment charges (TCs) for 40% tin ore to as low as 13,500 yuan/mt. TCs at the beginning of this year were at 17,000 yuan/mt. Losses have pushed more smelters to suspend or further scale back production.
SMM estimates a shortfall of 900 mt in domestic tin ore supply in August, on a metal content basis.
Tin ore imports are expected to hold steady in the near term as Shanghai tin prices stabilised after they recovered last month from losses in August.