Brazil, the world’s leading independent tin producer, has reached agreement with the seven-member International Assn. of Tin Producers on finding a new commodity exchange for tin trading.
The traditional London metal market, which had set international tin prices and tried to keep them high, has been closed since last Oct. 24, when tin prices collapsed. According to participants at a two-day meeting here of the world’s major tin producers, New York may be an alternative as a trading center for tin.
The meeting, between Brazil’s private tin miners and the international association, was called in an effort to restore normal trading and higher prices. Tin is now selling at $5,500 a ton, compared to about $12,000 a ton before the collapse last fall.
At present prices, many traditional producers, among them Bolivia, cannot earn enough to cover production costs and have had to close mines.
Low-Cost Amazon Deposits
Samuel Hanan, president of Brazil’s National Tin Producers Assn., said after the meeting that the Brazilian government should join the international association at its meeting next month in Indonesia. Until now, Brazil has chosen to be independent of the association, which is made up of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Bolivia, Australia, Nigeria and Zaire.
With development of low-cost alluvial tin deposits in the Amazon region, Brazil has raised its production to 26,000 tons a year, a level second only to Malaysia’s 27,500 tons.
The tin crisis has reduced world production to about 132,000 tons this year, compared to demand estimated at 175,000 tons. The stocks in the hands of consumers, which were 90,000 tons in January, have fallen to 60,000 tons.
According to participants at the meeting here, the recovery of tin prices depends to a great degree on the reduction of consumer inventories. Hanan said no decision was made on the question of regulating production.