Total refined tin imports were 16,706 tonnes in January-July 2012, more than three times the imports of 5,526 tonnes in the same period of last year. Of the total for the year to date, 8,470t was from Indonesia and 6,105 tonnes refined tin was from Malaysia. Ores and concentrate imports were also up by more than 22 times at 4,000 tonnes, and YTD imports were up by 36%. Most ore and concentrate imports were from Burma and Bolivia.
The ISRI says that the boom is explained by falling production and the fact that the domestic market always reacts slowly to the changes of LME price because of its unique characteristics. As a natural deficit market, the China domestic price always lags rapid falls in LME price and usually needs some time (2-3 weeks) to move back in line.