Cell prices sustain less decrease, but set to resume a downward trend after Lunar New Year
January 27, 2021 PV InfoLink
Since polysilicon buyers are still stocking up ahead of the Lunar New Year, and ingot pulling manufacturers are pushing polysilicon makers to deliver on time or even ahead of time, supply of polysilicon remains short. This drives manufacturers in the up and downstream sectors to trade actively in China, with orders for February and even March having been signed. Some Tier-1 mono-Si wafer makers have enough inventories until mid- to late March.
Market prices for mono-grade polysilicon increased RMB 1/kg this week, sitting at RMB 86-90/kg and averaging RMB 87/kg. The market saw chaotic price quotes for small orders, ranging from RMB 90/kg to RMB 95/kg. Since late December, polysilicon manufacturers have run out of stock and thus become less willing to sell, while demand has been increasing as most downstream manufacturers, in anticipation of logistic disruption amid escalating pandemic, would like to sign orders in advance to secure supply. Against this backdrop, prices have remained high. Overall, mono-grade polysilicon prices are likely to trend upward before the Lunar New Year.
Demand for multi-grade polysilicon stays flat due to dwindling end market demand, increasing market share of mono-Si products and reduced production of multi-Si wafers. This week, trading prices of multi-grade polysilicon stayed at RMB 53-56/kg and averaged RMB 54/kg in China.
With rising polysilicon prices in China and an anticipation of price increase, most orders being negotiated now in overseas markets will be fulfilled after the Lunar New Year. Mono-grade polysilicon prices saw a slight increase, coming in at USD 10.8-11.1/kg, while that for multi-grade polysilicon prices stayed at USD 6.6-7/kg.
Leading mono-Si wafer manufacturer Longi announced prices for February this week, which remain the same as January. Since mono-Si wafer prices have stayed unchanged for three consecutively months, the market prices in China saw little change compared with the previous levels: G1 (158.75mm), M6 (166mm), and M10 (182mm) wafers were respectively traded at RMB 3.11-3.14/piece, RMB 3.2-3.24/piece, and RMB 3.85-3.9/piece. In foreign markets, the market prices moved slightly due to exchange rates, sitting at USD 0.425-0.427/piece, USD 0.438-0.441/piece, USD 0.74-0.744/piece. PV InfoLink has learned that most mono-Si wafer manufacturers have signed orders for February and they will schedule delivery based on orders. Meanwhile, manufacturers adjust production output to different extent for February, the shortest month of the year. It’s worth noting that following the decrease in M6 cell prices earlier while mono-Si wafer makers remain the same utilization rates, prices for M6 mono-Si wafers may lose ground after the Lunar New Year.
India, the largest multi-Si market, saw increasing inventory draw ahead of China’s Lunar New Year holiday. However, multi-Si demand remains weak due to the ongoing pandemic. Prices for multi-Si wafers show no change this week in China and abroad, sitting at RMB 1.15-1.49/piece and USD 0.162-0.203/piece. Supply of multi-Si wafers will decrease further, as multi-Si wafer manufacturers plan to suspend or cut production during the Lunar New Year holiday. Moreover, order volumes for February are modest, and so multi-Si wafer prices will not change much over the short term.
As the Lunar New Year is just weeks away, cell prices sustain less decrease this week. The prices published by Tongwei on January 26 suggest prices will be rather stable in February due to the new year holiday. Considering employees returning to work need to quarantine, most cell manufacturers will not cease production during the holiday. Overall, cell prices will continue to decline after the Lunar New Year.
G1 cell prices were traded at RMB 088-0.92/W. Prices have slipped marginally since last week, when supply increased slightly, and this week began to see increasing volume of cells traded at RMB 0.88-0.89/W. It’s expected that prices will stay at a higher level amid strong demand before the Lunar New Year, and then decline steadily in February after the end of the holiday.
M6 cell prices also sustained less decrease this week, with prices forecast to sit still at the current level before the Lunar New Year. The trading prices came in at RMB 0.83-0.88/W this week and averaged RMB 0.84-0.85/W. Overseas manufacturers began to negotiate new orders recently; M6 cell prices decreased slightly this week in the USD term due to exchange rates and it took longer time for price decreases to impact M6 cells.
Since large cells are still in the early phase of development, it’s not easy to acquire large wafers. Most cell makers thus reply on OEM and dual distribution model for their large cell business; overall prices stay relatively stable. This week, the average prices of M10 cells and G12 cells were slightly lowered to RMB 0.89-0.9/W and RMB 0.9-0.91/W, respectively.
While supply of multi-Si cells continue to shrink, demand increased slightly on stock up ahead of the Lunar New Year and India’s fiscal year. As a result, prices for multi-Si cells rose to RMB 2.45-2.5/W. As there’s barely room for multi-Si cell prices to decrease further, the price movement will be subject to wafer prices.
A new round of glass price negotiation has begun. As glass manufacturers’ inventory level is currently stable, the mainstream market prices stay at RMB 42-43/m2 among large manufacturers. Unlike previous period, orders placed as high as RMB 46-48/m2 became rare now as module makers rather bid their time now. So, the range of trading prices narrowed to RMB 42-45/m2. Prices for 2.0mm glass came in at RMB 34-35/m2.
With BOM prices holding ground, module prices remain stable. As manufacturers started to fulfil orders placed earlier, prices for large format modules are edging closer to those of standard modules, narrowing down the price gap.
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