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Wafer prices tumble under downward pressure from cell manufacturers

June 30, 2021 PV InfoLink

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Polysilicon

As the market sit on the fence this week, not many new orders were signed. Bulk orders and sporadic orders were signed at RMB 200-210/kg and RMB 210-215/kg, respectively, staying at previous levels, but the trading volumes were low.

Amid declining wafer prices and the dimming demand in July, buyers have been pressuring the polysilicon sector continually, hoping for prices to drop and thus balance out downstream production costs. However, polysilicon prices are expected to remain stable for the short term as inventory is low.

Overseas markets were wavering as well and saw no new trading activity. Additionally, actual impacts on Xinjiang exports of cells and modules to the U.S. remained unclear and awaits the U.S. for further details on sanctions against PV products from Xinjiang.

Wafer

This Tuesday, major mono-Si wafer manufacturer Zhonghuan released new official pricings, with G1, M6, and G12 wafers with a thickness of 170um being priced at RMB 4.62/piece, RMB 4.72/piece, and RMB 7.53/piece, respectively. This was a marked decrease, compared to Longi’s pricings last week, where prices for G1, M6, and M10 wafers hung on to RMB 4.79/piece, RMB 4.89/piece, and RMB 5.87/piece.

Zhonghuan’s price cut drove Tier-2 wafer manufacturers to trim down their pricings. Amid low market demand, cell and module manufacturers had time on their hands for price negotiations with the wafer sector, while the latter started to see inventory pressures. As a result, overall prices approached to Zhonghuan’s official pricings, even though other manufacturers wished to see prices slightly higher.

Multi-Si wafers were undersold amid dwindling demand. Prices in RMB plummeted, with bulk orders being signed at RMB 2-2.1/piece. Overall trading prices saw continual downtrends, as underselling prices lower than RMB 2/piece increasingly emerged.

Cell 

After leading wafer manufacturers released pricings for July on June 29, Tongwei also release official pricings on June 30. Prices for multi-Si cells dropped markedly to RMB 0.73/W amid wafer price declines; prices for G1 mono-Si cells were down by 2%, whilst M6 and G12 cell prices dropped to RMB 1/W.

Cell prices were chaotic, as the market sit on the fence amid wafer downward trends. This week, several traders were reportedly underselling cells, while some cell manufacturers followed suit with semi-annual reports looming. Some major module makers continue to cease purchasing this week.

M6, M10, and G12 mono-Si cell prices gradually declined to RMB 1-1.04/W, as cell prices are mostly price quotes, rather than trading prices. In the low-price range, few orders for M6 cells were signed at RMB 0.99-1/W, whilst prices for large format cells hover above RMB 1/W. With huge production capacity and thus no bargaining chip in negotiations, cell prices have begun to decline. As demand shifted to large format cells, M6 cells, with large production capacity, will see prices decline faster.

This week, multi-Si cells saw low order volumes and weak inventory draws, with prices dropped to RMB 3.5-3.65/piece, in accordance with slow wafer price declines. In July, multi-Si cell price fluctuations will gradually stall amid unabating Covid-19 pandemic in India and lower utilization rates.

Module 

In China, following wafer and cell price downtrends, few orders that were previously signed at higher prices saw prices slip, reflecting recent price declines in wafer and cell sectors. However, most vertically integrated companies sustained prices at previous levels, as polysilicon prices came to stagnations. As a result, mainstream module prices in and out of China have not seen distinctive fluctuations.

By far, low utilization rates are expected to remain amid July’s low end user demand and buyers’ reserved attitudes due to mid-stream price declines. Further changes hinge on up and mid-stream price fluctuations.

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