Module prices poise to drop amid tepid demand, pressuring upstream prices
November 10, 2021 PV InfoLink
This week, polysilicon prices sustained at RMB 271-273/kg, whilst traders saw even higher price quotes. With November being the signing season for purchase orders, average market prices have already come in at RMB 269/kg. Still, the rising momentum will lose ground, for higher prices lack sufficient supports.
Impacts of energy intensity and consumption control and power rationing still pervade, but somewhat mitigate as compared to September and October, and with better policy flexibility. Silicon metal supply saw marked increases, allowing raw material prices for each grade to decline continually.
Polysilicon buyers differ in the projection for polysilicon price trend and concerns about their own businesses, but still engaged in intense price negotiations amid current market condition. Overall, every sector expects polysilicon prices to drop, only diverged on how fast and how significant that decline would be.
Mainstream prices for mono-Si wafers did not see notable fluctuation. However, lofty prices crimped end user demand, even during the high season at the year’s end.
Leading mono-Si wafer manufacturers kept prices at previous levels for now. Others gradually moved price quotes from the high-price range, which is closer to that of Zhonghuan, to the low-price range, which approaches to that of Longi.
Given small supply increases and price declines in the polysilicon sector, wafer manufacturers are not going trim down prices for mono-Si wafers but will have to be better prepared for relevant inventories.
This week, cell manufacturers delivered orders as last week. Demand for 166mm cells waned, as downstream sectors wind down purchases. Average prices lowered accordingly to RMB 1.1-1.11/W; low-price range dipped RMB 0.01/W, with some reaching RMB 1.09/W. 182mm cells, with relatively steady sales volumes, saw prices retaining at RMB 1.15-1.16/W. Prices for 210mm cells, which saw fewer buyers, stayed at RMB 1.1-1.12/W.
Prices for 182mm or 210mm cells may drop by RMB 0.01-0.02/W, as module prices pared back amid flagging demand and marginally slipping upstream prices. Prices for 166mm cells can drop no more. Doubled with more balanced production output and demand, 166mm cell prices will decline at a slower pace, as compared to cells of other formats.
Multi-Si cell prices decreased marginally to RMB 3.75-3.9/piece this week due to sluggish demand. Further price trend is treated conservatively, given short multi-Si wafer supply.
Installations in some regions of China were forced to stop during the winter. Given weaker demand during November and December, some module makers purportedly cleared out inventories in advance.
As a result, module prices began to drop in mid-November. 166mm modules, having some previously signed orders yet to be delivered and corresponding supply and demand volumes, saw slower price declines, with prices for glass-backsheet modules sitting at RMB 2.03-2.05/W for the time being. Demand for 182mm modules have not picked up, whilst end users refused to accept price as high as RMB 2.1/W. Therefore, Tier-2 and Tier-3 module makers had trimmed down prices for the 182mm format last week; this week, average prices dropped by RMB 0.01-0.05/W. Tier-1 makers kept price quotes unchanged but started to deliver at slightly lower prices, with glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W being traded averagely at RMB 2.04-2.07/W. Distributed projects sealed orders at RMB 2.1/W.
All in all, the market continued to see huge price differences this week, given orders were previously signed at prices under RMB 1.95-2/W and the depletion of inventories sent chaos to prices.
Prices stabilized in overseas markets. For glass-backsheet modules with a power output exceeding 500 W, previous orders were delivered at USD 0.25-0.255/W, whilst new orders saw price quotes coming in at USD 0.28-0.295/W. Overall, few new orders were signed for the fourth quarter; overseas markets stayed in a wait and see mode, whilst distributed market saw prices slip marginally.
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Prices fall slowly across the supply chain
This week, polysilicon buyers and sellers were mostly delivering previous orders amid intensified market sensitivity, with a new round of price negotiations yet to begin.
Market in wait and see mode for next round of new orders
The polysilicon sector has been delivering orders for now but saw few new orders signed. Purchase activities slowed, as the market was more and more in a wait and see mode.