There were many pings in the background on a frenetic trading day for Brian Helsel, president of the American Tin Trade Association, when he spoke to Fastmarkets about a tin shortage unlike any of recent years - and one felt particularly acutely in the United States.
It was the end of a long week in the tin trade. By Friday February 19, the tin cash price had made its greatest weekly rise in 13 years, up by 16%. The price was near a peak on the London Metal Exchange at $29,349 per tonne, while an exceptionally large backwardation developed within the week - the tomorrow/next-day spread was as wide as $600 per tonne on February 16.
In the US, premiums for those taking physical delivery of tin were at record levels and heading higher. “It’s crazy,” Helsel said.
President of Phoenixx International, a family-owned trading firm in Pittsburgh,...