Tin Set for Worst First Half in Quarter Century on Ample Supply

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Tin prices are set for the biggest first-half decline in at least a quarter century amid ample supplies and lackluster demand.

The metal used in electronics and packaging is down 23 percent this year, the worst-performing industrial metal on the London Metal Exchange. That’s the biggest percentage decline in full-year data on Bloomberg going back to 1990.

Myanmar is shipping record amounts of ore to China, the biggest consumer, adding to a surplus of the metal. Global refined production will climb 3.3 percent this year compared with a 2.5 percent gain in consumption, according to Societe Generale SA.

“The long-term future for tin is not brilliant, and it’s been reflected in the price,” said Steve Hardcastle, head of client services for industrial commodities at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London. “The big unknown 18 months ago was Myanmar, which is now filling the gap.”

Tin for delivery in three months fell 1.9 percent to settle at $14,880 a metric ton at 5:54 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest drop in two weeks. Prices are heading for a seventh monthly decline, the longest slump since November 2005. Open interest, or the number of outstanding futures, reached a seven-year low last month.

The present LME contract was introduced in June 1989 after a 900 million-pound default by members of the International Tin Council in 1985 spurred a price collapse.

Nickel and zinc retreated in London, while lead, aluminum and copper advanced.

In New York, copper futures for delivery in September declined 0.2 percent to $2.6195 a pound on the Comex.

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