Japan Tin Ingot Import Increases from Thailand

Japanese tin ingot import is increasing from Thailand. Japanese tin users, especially around Osaka area, seem using more ingot including lead at around 200 parts per million of the low level. Japanese tin ingot dealers are concerned about the oversupply due to the import increase from Thailand, when domestic tin ingot supply and demand are currently balanced after Indonesian new brand ingot started to be imported for Japan.Tin ingot import from Thailand was 200 tonnes in March 2006 and 500 tonnes in May, according to the trade statistics by Ministry of Finance. The proportion of Thai tin ingot was 5.8% to the total import in March, while 14% in April and 15.4% in May. The import from Thailand stayed at 200-300 tonnes per month in 2005 but has doubled since April 2006.The import is increasing from Thai largest tin ingot maker, Thaisarco. Thai tin ingot includes lead at around 200 ppm of the low level whose grade is as high as Chinese tin ingot, while the averaged unit price of Thai ingot is cheaper by 25-30 yen than Chinese according to the trade statistics.Demand is increasing for tin ingot including less lead when Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) became effect in the European Union in July 2006 which prohibits lead usage for solder. The supply of Chinese tin ingot is relatively unstable because the export volume is reduced when the international tin price decreases. Tin users seem to prefer Thai ingot to Chinese due to its supply stability. Japanese dealer source said solder makers especially in Osaka area procure much Thai tin ingot.