MELBOURNE – Tin prices appear to have well and truly recovered after being mugged by an unexpected supply surge from Myanmar, but there are still questions as to whether they are now ready for an extended rally.
London benchmark tin has surged 56.4 percent since hitting a near seven-year low in January, ending Tuesday’s session $20,850 a tonne.
This makes the metal, whose main uses include solder, batteries and plating, one of the top performing commodities this year, even if the current price is still some 38 percent below the all-time high reached in April 2011. What is impressive about tin’s gains this year is they have been achieved despite the flow of tin ores and concentrates from Myanmar to top importer China.
In the first nine months of the year, China imported 345,884 tonnes of ore and concentrates from the Southeast Asian nation, up 94 percent from the same period last year. This massive increase comes on top of a 64.9 percent gain in imports from Myanmar in 2015 from the prior year.
Given the flood of ore from Myanmar, it’s no surprise that tin dropped in January to the lowest since August 2009, but it is somewhat more surprising that the metal has recovered so strongly, even as China continues to soak up output from the country that returned to democracy after elections in November 2015 ended more than five decades of military rule.
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