LONDON — Tin prices traded near record highs on Friday due to supply concerns in major producer Myanmar, while lofty stainless steel prices boosted nickel to its highest in five months.
Benchmark tin on the London Metal Exchange, the best performer among the metals complex this year, touched a high of $33,590 a tonne, within striking distance of a April 2011 high of $33,600.
By 1140 GMT, the metal mainly used for solder in the electronics industry, was up 0.5% to $33,290.
“Tin’s ascent continues its path driven by shipping logistical issues and supply pressures from Myanmar etc,” said Alastair Munro at brokerage Marex.
Myanmar, the world’s third largest tin producer, is struggling to contain a rising cases of COVID-19 and a political crisis.
Rwanda, another producer of tin, has asked its businesses to cut staffing by 50%, a move that has affected miners.
“It’s a list of never-ending events that keep hitting the tin market,” said Adam Slade, an analyst at Roskill, a Wood Mackenzie business, citing a series of capacity closures this year.
The re-opening of some smelters will ease tightness in the market but prices are expected to remain above $30,000 tonnes with a firm floor of $25,000, Slade said.
In nickel, rocketing stainless steel prices have boosted prices for the metal where it used to resist corrosion.
Chinese stainless steel futures surged more than 6% to a record high on strong consumption and raw material supply crunch, while concerns over output cut in the steel sector also supported prices.
LME nickel was up 1% to $18,950 a tonne, after touching its highest since February.
TIN BALANCE: The 380,000-tonne global tin market is expected to be in a 10,200 tonnes deficit this year which will deepen to a 12,700 tonnes shortage in 2022, the International Tin Association said in June.
OTHER PRICES: Copper dipped 0.5% to $9,434 a tonne, aluminum shed 0.2% to $2,513, zinc climbed 0.4% to $2,981 and lead was flat at $2,329.
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; editing by David Evans)