Thursday, November 24, 2016

Better times seen for MSC this year

Lets remind ourselves again
THE sharp recovery in the global tin prices is a boon for tin miner and metal producer, Malaysia Smelting Corp Bhd (MSC).

Its share price in recent months has been on an uptrend touching a high of RM3.26 on Sept 8 from a low of RM2.21 on Feb 3 before settling two sen higher at RM3.20 on Thursday.
Year-to-date, the price of tin has risen by over 30%. The metal is currently trading at US$19,200-US$19,270 per tonne range on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and Kuala Lumpur Tin Market (KLTM).
According to industry observers, the fortunes of MSC are set to take a turn for the better this year after experiencing a 6-1/2 year slump in global tin prices.
Since early this year, tin has climbed steadily following declining supplies from the world’s top producing countries China and Indonesia.
The LME tin stocks in its warehouses are also depleting, down by 20% to about 4,460 tonnes in September from a month earlier.
MSC is the world’s second largest tin mining and smelting group with an annual refined tin production of over 30,000 tonnes.
It has an international smelting operation in Butterworth and tin mining operation is managed by its subsidiary Rahman Hydraulic Tin Sdn Bhd (RHT).
With tin prices improving, MSC chief executive officer, Chua Cheong Yong (pic) is optimistic that MSC international smelting plant and RHT mines are expected to perform satisfactorily and will generate strong cash flows for the current financial year ending Dec 31.
“While the overall refined tin production is not likely to change much, profit margin, especially on the mining side, will see some expansion in the environment of higher tin prices,” he adds.
Chua tells StarBizWeek: “We will continue to subscribe to the commodity price cycles model and, in our view, the main challenge for any resource based industry is to be able to build a business model and structure that will be resilient enough to ride through these cycles.”
“The current rally for tin is more supply driven rather than demand related. While tin demand is currently stable, the growth potential is expected to be realised only in the mid-term scenario as tin use in energy related industrial applications, particularly in the battery sector, gathers momentum.
Chua says MSC has been resilient to withstand the severe down cycle, particularly in 2015, which caused significant operating losses and large asset impairments by major global mining and commodity trading companies alike.
The management’s initiatives last year at implementing cost-cutting measures and being frugal in expenditure have strengthened the Group.
“Despite the difficult and challenging market environment in 2015 our core operations, were able to achieve commendable performances and the Group’s cash and liquidity positions have continued to remain strong.”
MSC’s financial position continues to be healthy as the operations generated strong cash flows of RM90.8mil in the first half of 2016.
In June this year, MSC has proposed to acquire Metal Reclamation Industries Sdn Bhd (MRI) through its wholly-owned subsidiary MSmelt Sdn Bhd for RM50mil in cash.
Chua says: “Therefore, the company’s current year focus will be to complete the acquisition by fourth quarter of this year.”
“As a result we will not, in the near term, be actively seeking for new tin investments opportunities.”
Chua explains further that one of the current company’s priorities is to complete the MRI acquisition and then to adapt and convert the MRI plant for tin smelting and integrate it into the group’s international tin smelting operations.
The MRI plant, which is located in Pulau Indah, possesses the new generation smelting technology which is a more comprehensive and efficient smelting process as compared to MSC Group’s smelting facility in Butterworth.
Besides more superior cost and operating parameters, the new technology is also better suited to address the increasingly stringent environmental requirements.
He also says: “We believe this technology will propel MSC Smelting Division into a more sustainable and competitive custom smelting force in the global tin industry.”
For Rahman Hydraulic Tin , the exploration programme to expand the mine’s resource base is ongoing, says Chua adding that: “We hope to be able to complete the programme in the near term. These priorities should keep us busy at least for the next couple of years.”
Having said that, Chua adds the group will still continue to invest in its future, even at times when (tin) prices are low.
Besides ongoing exploration programmes to expand the group’s tin resources, MSC has also participated in the private placement of Alphamin Resources Corp in 2015 to increase its equity interest in the company to 5%.
Alphamin is a Toronto Venture Exchange listed developer of the Bisie project, a very high grade tin prospect located in Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We believe the small entry investment will provide MSC Group with favourable and interesting growth opportunities when the cycle turns.”
“The movement in commodity prices, the stability of the local currency and any major policy adjustments in the advanced and emerging economies will continue to have impact on the group performances in today’s challenging macroeconomic environment,” adds Chua.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tin Prices Seen Extending Climb as Global Shortages to Last

Bloomberg) -- Tin, which has surged more than 40 percent this year, is set to keep advancing amid continued shortages because supply is not coming on fast enough, according to Peter Kettle, chief analyst at research group ITRI Ltd.
Prices may rise to about $30,000 a metric ton in 2018-2019, Kettle said at an industry conference in Shanghai, an increase of 42 percent from the level now. The market will have a deficit of 10,000 tons to 15,000 tons this year and a similar shortfall in 2017, he said on Tuesday. Tin is among the top picks for researcher CRU Group next year, said Susan Gao, head of consulting in China.
Tin, used for soldering in electronics, has gained to the highest level in more than two years, and is the best performer after zinc on the London Metal Exchange in 2016. Top shipper Indonesia has curbed exports and inventories in sheds tracked by the LME have slumped to the lowest since 2004. Tin and zinc are “the standout stories in terms of structural supply constraints capable of tightening the market,” Standard Chartered Plc said last month.
“We’re in a very long-term trend of declining stockpiles,” Kettle said. “If stocks fall much further, we will get to a critical point that prices could go much higher than the medium-term equilibrium” of about $22,500 a ton, he said. ITRI is a U.K.-based company which supports the industry and helps to expand the metal’s use. The group is backed by producers and smelters.
Shipments by Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter, plunged to 52,617 tons in the first 10 months of this year, the lowest for the period in at least a decade, from 61,713 tons a year earlier, Trade Ministry data show. Global supply trailed demand by 20,500 tons in the first eight months of 2016, according to data from the World Bureau of Metal Statistics. LME-tracked stockpiles have fallen by more than half since May.
Refined output in the country may drop to about 60,000 tons this year, Jabin Sufianto, head of the Association of Indonesia Tin Exporters, said in September. That compares with 67,350 tons in 2015 and would be the lowest since 2002, according to WBMS data. Kettle said on Tuesday that Indonesian supply will be about 60,000 tons in the medium term.
While Indonesia’s production has been hurt by rains and mining regulations, it could be 60,000 tons to 70,000 tons this year and may rise slightly in 2017 if the weather improves, Riza Pahlevi Tabrani, president director of top producer PT Timah, said in an interview. Timah’s shares have more than doubled in 2016 and reached the highest in two years this month.
Prices above $22,500 are needed in the medium term to spur the supply required to balance moderate growth in demand, said Tom Mulqueen, an ITRI analyst. While Bolivian production is set to rise, output in China, Indonesia and Peru is faltering, he said. Tin for delivery in three months time added 1.2 percent to $21,100 on the LME by 10:48 a.m. in London on Tuesday.
Along with tin, Gao from CRU said at the conference that crude oil, nickel and zinc were also among her top choices for next year and that commodity prices overall were poised to rise further.
(Updates to add comment in penultimate paragraph.)
©2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November Tin price


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Global Tin Market

Tin solder is the largest end-use sector now accounting for 48% of global demand. The demand for tin solder is driven by substitution for lead solder and growth in demand for consumer electronics. Lower growth in consumer electronics and thrifting have reduced solder’s market share from 54% at the peak in 2010 to 48% in 2014.
Demand 2010
Demand 2014

Lead-acid batteries, the fastest growing end-use, represented 7% of the market in 2014. Chemical uses are also growing rapidly rising to 16% in 2014.
Tinplate for food cans was the second largest end-use in 2010. However, greater growth in other sectors have reduced its market share to 15% in 2014.
China is now the largest consumer of tin due to rapid growth in electronics manufacturing – it accounts for 35% of the global market.
Global tin demand is 365,000 tonnes or $9 billion dollars at a long-term price of US$25,000 per tonne.
Primary tin production at 290,000 tonnes has failed to meet demand for several years with growth in secondary supply to 75,000 tonnes required to bridge the gap.
China and Indonesia are the largest primary producers of tin accounting for 67% of global production. Both countries are likely to face declining supply due to falling grade and rising costs. Other established producers in South America and Africa face similar issues.
world map
Declining stocks suggest that secondary may not grow fast enough to meet demand growth and cover the loss of primary supply.
New production from the Heemskirk Tin Project and other proposed tin developments is required to help bridge the supply-demand gap in the future.
Rising London Metal Exchange tin prices reflect the need for new sources of supply.