Tin is a chemical element with atomic number 50, symbol Sn (from the Latin stannum). Rare in its native state, tin is mainly extracted from a mineral called cassiterite where it is found in the form of SnO2 oxide. It has been used since antiquity for various industrial applications. Quoted on the stock exchange, its price has been fluctuating in recent years. Find out more about the price and quotation of tin.
The Price of Tin in a Few Key Figures
Tin is certainly the first mineral exploited by humans. Used for the manufacture of objects of common use and kitchen utensils, tin, which can be combined with copper as well as lead, was used in the composition of bronze. In the Middle Ages, pewter tableware was widespread and certain artists, such as Charles Boulle, used it in marquetry. Today, pewter is used in the manufacture of industrial machine parts, in the brazing and soldering trades and in the manufacture of many objects.
More than 80% of tin production comes from one region, from central China through Thailand and Indonesia. The largest tin deposits in the world were discovered in 1876 in the Kinta Valley (Malaysia). France has not had a tin mine since 1975.
Like zinc, lead, nickel, copper and aluminium, tin is one of the metals listed on the stock exchange. It is mainly traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME), which is the world’s largest non-ferrous metals market, accounting for 80% of global trade.
Apart from a global tin crisis in 1985, the price had never exceeded $22,000 per tonne until 2016. In 2020, the price fell sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 13 April 2020, the price reached $15,000 per tonne.
What is the Price of Tin Today?
The years 2021 and 2022 were marked by a rise in the price of tin. Indeed, the price reached $41,000 per tonne on 25 November 2021. This represented a 95% increase between January and November 2021. Despite a sharp decline in December 2021, the situation stagnated for several months until it reached a new high of USD 48,660 per tonne on 7 March 2022.
Between 09 March 2022 and 10 March 2022, the price fell from USD 48,150 to USD 42,750 per tonne. Between mid-March and mid-June of the same year, the price of the metal fluctuated between USD 42,000 and USD 26,800. Since then, the price has almost stabilised. The cost of tin on 25 August 2022 is $24,452 per tonne.
Why is the Price of Tin Rising?
Why are tin prices soaring? Firstly, tin operates in a tight market with the supply side of refined tin dominated by China. In its fight against the coronavirus, Beijing has closed its border with Myanmar, its main supplier of tin ore, several times. This constraint has weighed on supply and therefore on prices. With the end of the crisis, commodity prices have rebounded spectacularly, driven by the revival of Chinese industry.
The war in Ukraine is also having an impact on metal prices. The price of a tonne of tin and aluminium, for example, has reached 41,000 and 3180 dollars respectively. Supply is also constrained by international hazards and the disruption of supply chains.
Finally, whether for infrastructure or for energy transition, demand for metals seems destined to increase. Some analysts speak of a metals “supercycle”. Indeed, if the world shifts from carbon-intensive fuels to clean energy and low-carbon fuels, the demand for industrial metals will be even greater.