Price hikes did not continue indefinitely; awaiting new round of negotiations
September 8, 2021 PV InfoLink
Polysilicon shortage intensified, as utilization rates of two leading wafer manufacturers recovered in September. This week, the market still saw few orders being signed at RMB 210/kg, despite September capacities of most manufacturers have been booked already. With no inventory left for manufacturers to sell, significant price fluctuations will only emerge at the end of the month. Strong polysilicon demand is expected to keep prices at the current level until the end of the month.
Price negotiations for mono-Si wafers had been settled last week, with mainstream trading prices for M6, M10, and G12 wafers coming in respectively at RMB 5.07-5.12/piece, RMB 6.09-6.17/piece, and RMB 8.09-8.17/piece. Prices saw no movement this week. However, a few wafer manufacturers were reportedly poised to raise prices again, amid vigorous demand. Whether wafer prices can rise successfully awaits further observation, as the cell sector saw challenges in raising prices.
Multi-Si wafer prices soared amid robust demand during a window period of punitive tariffs in the Indian market, with mainstream prices shooting up by more than 30%, from around RMB 1.8/piece at the end of July, to RMB 2.4-2.5/piece at the end of August. Overseas markets saw more than USD 0.35/piece of price surges in early September, after marked price hikes in the Chinese market.
Rapid price hikes affected downstream demand, pushing down purchase volume of cells, sapping demand for multi-Si wafers. Prices for multi-Si wafers returned to a downward trend, as market prices showed signs of weakening, with some manufacturers lowering price quotes for the time being.
The low price range varied slightly this week, as previous orders were fulfilled. Still, subject to limited acceptability of the module sector, prices for mono-Si cells averaged at last week’s level, with price range of 158.75mm cells remaining at RMB 1.08-1.15/W, 166mm at RMB 1.04-1.06/W, 182mm at 1.04-1.065/W, and 210mm at RMB 1-1.04/W.
Negotiations came to an end this week, some with no new order being signed. Under huge cost pressures, several Tier-1 module makers suspended cell procuring activities to focus on OEM and dual distribution models. This week, Tier-1 vertically integrated companies bought cells at RMB 1.04-1.05/W, whilst medium-sized module makers, being less advantaged, purchased at RMB 1.05-1.06/W.
Prices for multi-Si cells are approaching an upper limit. As purchase volumes gradually dropped, prices began to slip accordingly. This week, multi-Si cell prices went down marginally to RMB 3.7-4/piece and can hardly rise further, given increasing Indian demand for mono-Si products.
Module makers, having been suffering from supply chain and BOM price hikes, raised price quotes for new orders in September, to RMB 1.77-1.79/W for M6 glass-backsheet modules and RMB 1.78-1.8/W for glass-backsheet modules rated above 500 W. Tier-2 module makers followed suit. However, orders have not been materialized, for the price hike is apparently unacceptable for module makers. Prices for monofacial modules with a power output exceeding 500 W can hardly sustain above RMB 1.8/W, given end users’ limited cost durability after rounds of price hikes from last to this year.
In overseas markets, module prices stabilized at current levels for the time being, with prices for M6 and M10 modules averaging at around USD 0.23-0.242/W and USD 0.24-0.245/W, respectively. In India, multi-Si products saw USD 0.005/W of small price increases, whilst prices for M6 mono-Si modules went up marginally by USD 0.002-0.003/W. Prices on distribution markets in Europe and Australia rose slightly by USD 0.01-0.015/W.
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