PT Timah, the third-largest tin producer, has restarted spot sales from Indonesia after prices surged, reversing a decision to curb supplies after less than a month. Futures tumbled, leading declines in base metals.
Total sales by the Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung-based company may increase to 36,000 to 37,000 metric tons this year from 33,000 tons in 2011 to maintain revenue, President Director Sukrisno told reporters in Jakarta today. Tin may advance to $22,000 a ton by year-end, he said.
Timah and other producers in Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter, restricted sales and exports this month after the price of the metal used to make solder and packaging dropped in July to the lowest close since 2010. The restrictions, coupled with declining London Metal Exchange stockpiles, spurred a 13 percent rally last week, the biggest gain since January 2009.
“Other producers are likely to follow suit,” Wu Xiaofeng, an analyst at SMM Information & Technology Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “So prices will probably be kept in the range of $17,000 to $21,000, with higher prices encouraging more sales and lower prices likely triggering restrictions.”
Three-month tin slumped as much as 3.9 percent to $19,901 a ton on the LME, and traded at $20,200 at 5:35 p.m. in Singapore. The contract, which closed at $17,345 on July 25, has declined 15 percent over the past year on concern that slower global economic growth will hurt demand.
Sukrisno said on Aug. 3 that Timah was suspending spot sales, while maintaining contract commitments, in a bid to support prices. About 70 percent of smelting capacity in Bangka Belitung, the country’s largest producing region, was idled as Timah and other companies suspended operations, according to an estimate from the Indonesian Tin Mining Association.
Indonesia accounts for about 40 percent of global exports, and the country is the world’s largest producer after China. Stockpiles held in LME-monitored warehouses stood at 11,610 tons, bourse data showed today, 20 percent below the year’s high of 14,595 tons on May 8. Canceled warrants, or orders to remove metal, reached 6,350 tons on Aug. 14, the highest since 1997.
Futures will average $22,000 a ton in the fourth quarter, according to the median of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg in a survey earlier this month. Hidayat Arsani, president of the Indonesian Tin Mining Association, has said “ideally” the price should be about $21,000 or $22,000.
The global tin market faces a third annual deficit this year of 7,000 tons, and another shortfall in 2013 of the same amount, according to an Aug. 16 report from Barclays Plc. Timah accounts for at least 60 percent of local output, it said.
First-half profit at Timah declined 51 percent as revenue dropped 14 percent, the company said in a statement on July 30. Stock in the company dropped 2.9 percent to 1,340 rupiah in Jakarta today, taking losses this year to 20 percent.