ITRI today released new data on global tin use by market sector in 2006 together with information on use trends from 2004-2007. This unique study, carried out as part of ITRI’s Sustainability Project, is based not only on national and international statistics from official agencies, but information from industry experts, and most significantly, direct survey results from downstream tin users.
Key conclusions to be drawn from the new ITRI study include;
• Solders were found to account for around 52% of global consumption in 2006, an increase from a 50% share in the previous year
• Tinplate production also continued to grow in China and remains the largest market for the metal in Europe, while tin chemicals are very important in some large national markets such as the USA and Germany
• Global tin usage in all main applications other than solders has been roughly stable since 2004 despite recent metal price increases
• Preliminary data suggests that world tin consumption in 2007 will be almost unchanged from the record level of 362,000 tonnes reached in 2006
This year’s results include data from most of the larger Chinese solder companies, obtained via a specially commissioned survey carried out by Antaike in Beijing. Peter Kettle, Manager of Statistics and Market Studies noted that “The importance of the Asian solder industry in the global picture is a key feature. Asian companies account for almost 80% of tin used in solders, with China alone representing some 55% of world solder business”.
Kay Nimmo, Manager of Environmental Affairs at ITRI remarked “The Sustainability project is seeking to develop a whole range of detailed information on tin and the tin industry itself. We need to involve as many parts of the supply chain as possible in the work and are extremely pleased that industry participation in this years survey has reached the highest level ever, covering over 90 companies, who collectively accounted for over a third of estimated global tin usage in 2006”.
Trade statistics have shown sharp falls in tin imports into some of the major national markets (notably the USA and Japan) in the first half of this year, although this probably reflects reductions in stocks held by consumers and traders as well as changes in actual tin usage. It is however clear that the rapid growth in tin usage in solders has slowed substantially. Part of this has been due to temporary weakness in the electronics sector in the first half, although business is believed to have picked up in the second half of the year, especially in China. The rush to lead-free solders has also paused in 2007, following the implementation of EU lead-free (RoHS) regulations in mid-2006. Although similar laws have been introduced in China from March this year, the Chinese authorities have not yet confirmed the timing and scope of mandatory restrictions on hazardous elements in electronic products.