UPDATE 1-Indonesia's PT Timah re-starts spot sales as global tin prices rise
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JAKARTA Aug 29 (Reuters) - Indonesian tin producer PT Timah has re-started spot sales after a three-week stoppage, a company executive said on Wednesday, as benchmark prices for the base metal rose.
Earlier this month, PT Timah -- the largest tin miner in the world's biggest refined tin exporting country -- stopped shipping metal on the spot market because of low prices.
"Confirmed," Timah's corporate secretary, Agung Nugroho, told Reuters by text message. "We resume to sell on spot basis."
Spot shipments make up 30 to 40 percent of the production of PT Timah. Total shipments are expected to rise as much as 18 percent to 40,000-45,000 tonnes of refined tin this year.
London tin prices have regained some ground after hitting a one-year low of $17,125 a tonne last month as the global economic slowdown stoked demand worries. By 0623 GMT, prices traded at about $20,280 a tonne.
Last week, tin executives in Indonesia's main tin producing region of Bangka-Belitung said all but one or two of the 28 licensed smelters had stopped operating because of weak global prices.
Indonesian producers of tin, mainly used in soldering for electronics, have a reputation for halting supplies.
The Indonesian Tin Association last year initiated an export stoppage in an effort to boost prices, although some members started shipping again, leading to disputes within the group and market scepticism over its credibility.
The tin association's president Hidayat Arsani says tin prices need to reach $23,000 to cover production costs.
Tin exports from Southeast Asia's largest economy rose almost 4 percent to 96,019.76 tonnes last year, and currently stand at about 55,613.52 tonnes for this year. (Reporting by Michael Taylor; Editing by Paul Tait)
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