Tin consumption is expected to be weaker this year, as a result of escalating trade tensions and macroeconomic developments, especially in China, where other factors are also hindering growth, the International Tin Association (ITA) has found.
ITA analyst Tom Mulqueen pointed out that the latest estimate of refined tin use in 2017 is 362 500 t.
The figure is 7 000 t higher than the preliminary 2017 estimate.
However, global tin demand will grow by just 1% this year, with a contraction in tin demand in China offset by growth elsewhere.
According to the ITA, solder still accounts for the largest global share of tin use, having grown by 3.7% in 2017.
The ITA further noted that tin use in chemicals grew by 7.5% in 2017, but growth is expected to slow significantly this year.
Meanwhile, tin use in tinplate continues to remain static or in decline.
Overcapacity and competition continue to impact on the industry, and this was recently compounded by US steel tariffs, but there is some optimism that new pressure on plastics may make tinplate more competitive in the future, ITA said.
Tin use in other applications includes lead-acid batteries, copper alloys and others such as tin and bronze powders, wine capsules, pewter, tin coatings and float glass.
“Although smaller and more traditional uses are stable, demand growth is positive for the automotive and glass industries particularly, with good prospects for advanced lead-acid batteries and tinned copper in hybrid and electric vehicles,” the ITA concluded.