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Tin Exports From Indonesia Drop for First Time in Three Months

Refined tin shipments from Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter, declined for the first time in three months in February after rains disrupted mining.

Exports dropped 8.7 percent to 8,354.5 metric tons from 9,154.7 tons in January, data from the Trade Ministry showed today. Overseas sales were 8,324.7 tons in February 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Tin, used in soldering and packaging, climbed 22 percent last year, the best performer among the main industrial metals on the London Metal Exchange. Falling supplies from Indonesia may help extend the rally, potentially boosting revenues at PT Timah, the country’s biggest producer. Futures rose 0.3 percent to $23,725 a ton today.

“February was the peak of rainy season,” Toto Rusbianto, head of mining exports at the ministry, said by phone from Jakarta. The rain disrupted mining, reducing tin ore supplies to smelters, he said.

The decline in shipments was the first since November, when exports fell 28.1 percent from a month ago, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Indonesia shipped tin to 10 countries last month, with Singapore taking about 68 percent of shipments, or 5,711 tons. Other destinations included Malaysia, China and Thailand.

Heavy rains are forecast over Bangka-Belitung province, the country’s main tin producing region this week, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said March 5.

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