Tin premiums in Europe held steady this week following the year-end holiday season, with increased exports from Indonesia expected to cap gains in premiums over the coming weeks as more material becomes available, traders said.
Premiums in Rotterdam for high grade Chinese material SN-CN, which are paid over the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price, were quoted at $650-$800 a tonne, while standard-grade Malaysian tin SN-MY was quoted at $400-$450 a tonne.
Refined tin shipments from Indonesia nearly doubled in December to 15,102.76 tonnes from 7,722.01 a year earlier, a trade ministry official said on Monday. Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of tin and second-largest producer after China.
“There is an expectation of more material becoming available. In the long run, we could see that take some of the edge off premiums,” a physical tin trader said.
The surge in exports comes after smelters in Indonesia’s main tin-producing region of Bangka island last month abandoned a two-month self imposed tin ingot export ban which was intended to prop up falling prices.
“They (the Indonesian smelters) had some long-term contracts on which they had to deliver, and that’s where the majority of the tin went,” the trader said.
“We are seeing some easier premiums. It’s not a whole lot cheaper because its not being reflected by the people who are holding the metal, but we’re not expecting any big rises (in premiums).”
The Indonesian export ban had supported tin premiums in Europe towards the end of last year, with spot buyers having to scramble to find material from elsewhere at a higher cost.
“We like importing directly from Indonesia, but they did not have a lot of material available at the end of last year so we had to buy spot from Singapore and paid a premium of around $500 a tonne (for standard grade material),” another physical trader said.
“Now we’re hoping to see material at more reasonable premiums.”
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- Europe’s Tin Premiums Steady, Indonesian Exports to Cap Gains « bangkatour | January 10, 2012