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Tin’s Drop May Endanger Producers, Malaysia Smelting Says

Tin prices that have dropped 41 percent from a record in April may endanger smaller producers of the metal, according to Malaysia Smelting Co.

“Twenty percent of the world’s producers will go out of business at the current price level,” Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Ajib Anuar said in an interview in London today. “It can happen very quickly because they are sensitive to prices.”

Smaller producers of tin, used in solders that join metals together and in packaging, face output costs of $20,000 to $25,000 a metric ton, according to Anuar. Tin for delivery in three months traded at $19,925 by 12:57 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, compared with the all-time high of $33,600 reached April 11.

Malaysia Smelting produced about 45,000 tons of tin last year, including its Indonesian operations, according to the CEO. The company is the industry’s second-largest producer.

Producers in Indonesia, which supplies 40 percent of global exports, banned overseas deliveries as of Oct. 1 in an effort to drive prices back to $25,000 a ton. Malaysia Smelting’s Indonesian unit shipped 400 tons to Singapore on Nov. 26, the first export since September.

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