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Prices across the supply chain remain constant, no change in mono-Si wafer prices

November 4, 2020 PV InfoLink

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Polysilicon prices

Bargaining over polysilicon prices had persisted for one month after the National Day holiday until a Tier-1 mono-Si wafer maker released its November prices last week, which are in line with their October levels, thus allowing the price trend for mono-grade polysilicon to become clear. Although mono-Si wafer prices remained constant, polysilicon producers had bulging stocks to deal with and faced persistent downward price pressure from wafer makers. As a result, prices for mono-grade polysilicon slipped this week to RMB 88–91/kg in the market and RMB 89/kg on average, with the high-priced level and the average level having shrunk by RMB 1/kg compared to the previous week.

On  the supply side, this month will see DL Silicon (with a 12,000-tonne capacity) maintain their equipment; GCL Silicon’s Xinjiang-based factory and Yongxiang Leshan’s old production line, having respectively been hit by an explosion and flood, return to full capacity; and the other manufacturers run at full capacity. Thus, polysilicon supply may rebound to its pre-accident level this month. In addition, as a handful of producers that used to run at low capacity are ramping up production, polysilicon supply in China will further pick up. Therefore, prices for mono-grade polysilicon will be declining slowly for a short period of time, although the actual trading price depends on the outcomes of bargaining between Tier-1 polysilicon and wafer makers.

This week’s market price for multi-grade polysilicon at high-and low-priced ends slipped by RMB 1/kg to RMB 57–60/kg, sitting at an average of RMB 59/kg. The price decline occurred amid persistently weak demand for multi products, which discouraged multi-Si wafer makers from procuring polysilicon.

Bargaining over polysilicon prices in non-Chinese markets persists as customers expect them to decline and Chinese polysilicon prices have decreased marginally. Against this backdrop, overseas polysilicon prices remained constant this week at USD 10.2–10.7/kg for mono-grade polysilicon and USD 7.2–7.7/kg for multi-grade polysilicon.

Wafer prices

Due to structural change in the market, PV InfoLink started this week to provide price adjustments for multi-Si wafers. Multi-Si wafers in China and abroad have their high-priced level determined by the price for doped high-efficiency multi-Si wafers (with their lifetime and resistivity allowing for customization) and their average and low-priced levels by the prices for mid/high-efficiency multi-Si wafers.

There is a small shortage of mono-Si wafers—as end-market demand in Q4 is driven by an installation boom, some mono-Si wafer makers are undergoing annual maintenance (as well as commissioning new production lines) between September and November, manufacturers that are going to bring online new production lines are struggling to do so because of limited power availability and a shortage of carbon/carbon thermal field materials, and Tier-1 maker Longi has cut the amount of mono-Si wafers for sales in order to supply their new in-house cell production lines. Since mono-grade polysilicon prices declined only marginally, the trading price for mono-Si wafers still stay at a high level this month. Mono-Si wafer prices remained almost consistent this week with their previous levels: RMB 3.03–3.08/piece for G1 and RMB 3.18–3.23/piece for M6 in China and USD 0.398–0.405 for G1 and USD 0.418–0.425/piece for M6 in non-Chinese markets.

India, where multi products are predominant, is still at the mercy of the COVID-19 pandemic and will only see modest inventory draw for a short period of time. It is difficult to predict when multi demand starts to recover. Although most multi-Si wafer producers are running at low capacity without generating much profits, supply of the wafers continues to outstrip demand, prompting their prices to trend downward. This week, Chinese multi-Si wafer prices decreased to RMB 1.23–1.55/piece in the market and RMB 1.3/piece on average. Multi-Si wafer prices in non-Chinese markets also declined, arriving at USD 0.175–0.205/piece.

Cell prices

Mono-Si cell prices remained constant this week, with M6 cells running slightly low in supply. The price for M6 cells even seemed to pick up although module makers, hit by price hikes among bill of materials, could no longer bear any increase in cell prices. Thus, the price for M6 cells hovered at RMB 0.93–0.935/W this week, but it arrived at RMB 0.94–0.95/W among mid-and small-sized module makers, which are in a weaker bargaining position.

This week, inventory draw for G1 cells weakened again and Tier-2 producers received only a handful of orders for such cells. But because the supply of G1 cells would continue to dwindle and the price for G1 wafers currently sat at a high level, the average price for G1 cells hovered at RMB 0.85/W this week. The G1 cell price will sustain less decline and likely to retain its level until the mid-November.

The average price for multi-Si cells sat at RMB 2.6/piece this week amid modest demand. Since multi-Si cell prices will not decline any further, how they will fare depends on price change in the wafer sector. As multi demand remains weak and multi products generate limited profits, some producers consider shutting down multi-Si cell production lines by the end of this year.

Module prices

The prices for PV glass settled down this week. Tier-1 makers purchased 3.2mm coated glass with a price of RMB 42–43/m2, whereas those for 2.0mm glass with RMB 34/m2. Meanwhile, prices for module bill of materials have been increasing since Q3 and cell prices remain persistently high, bringing module makers increasing BOM costs by around RMB 0.1/W and leave module producers without cell production lines to run at a near deficit.

Since glass shortage is not going to ease up any time soon, module makers offer moderate price quotes for the upcoming year. Price quotes for Q1 and Q2 next year remain almost constant and even see small increases; customers are thus biding their time. So, module prices will be trending at a steady pace in Q1 next year.

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