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Supply chain prices stabilized as polysilicon prices approaching their peak

October 27, 2021 PV InfoLink

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Polysilicon

Manufacturers are delivering orders previously signed at different progress around the end of the month. Being hit by recent delta outbreak, some regions saw chaotic delivery cycle, owing to logistic disruptions. 

This week, new orders were signed successively, with mainstream trading prices continuing to inch, averaging virtually at RMB 270/kg. The market reputedly heard even higher price quotes, which whether buyers will accept awaits further observation. Still, polysilicon manufacturers should not be too worried, despite buyers from some sectors remaining concerned and  in a wait and see mode.

The degree and duration of impacts power rationing has on silicon metal and polysilicon makers are still brewing as the end of the year approaches. Effective polysilicon supply will only see limited increase during November and December, despite new production capacities that are expected to be commissioned in recent terms.

Wafer

Mono-Si wafer prices stabilized this week. The cell sector, having been pressured by low utilization rates and profitability, remained in a wait and see mode. In the meantime, inventory draws slowed and stalled at various extents, as a result of the market’s inconsistent projection for leading wafer manufacturers’ latest official pricings.

Presently, Tier-1 and Tier-2 mono-Si wafer manufacturers are faced with different appeals amid obstinately high polysilicon prices. Pricings of Zhonghuan sat in the high-price range. Some major wafer manufacturers may release new pricings lately, with the market heeding for possible changes.

Multi-Si wafers, with measly production, purportedly saw prices stepping on an upward trend in recent terms, as incurred by polysilicon price hikes. Still, further price trend hinges on the acceptance and inventory draws of downstream sectors.

Cell

This week, some Tier-1 module makers started purchasing. Cell prices sustained at RMB 1.11-1.16/W as last week; prices for 166mm cells sat at RMB 1.11-1.14/W, with low-price range rolling back marginally by RMB 0.01/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; low-price range slid in accordance with lower purchase volumes from Tier-1 manufacturers.

The cell sector mulled to raise multi-Si cell prices as wafer prices poised to hike. However, prices remained at RMB 3.85-3.9/piece this week, as demand appeared sluggish. Further price trend is treated conservatively, given short multi-Si wafer supply. Downstream sectors are less likely to accept the increased prices, if they shall rise to RMB 4/piece.

Module

Orders were mostly signed with distributed projects, whilst centralized projects still negotiating. As cold weather looms, projects in China are wrapping up, with residential ones finishing by the second half of November. Market outlook is rather dismal from October to November and contingent on whether supply chain prices will stabilize next month. This week, module price hikes eased out, with price quotes steadying for the time being. Tier-1 module makers sealed orders at RMB 2.05-2.13/W for 182mm glass-backsheet modules this week, whilst Tier-2 makers saw RMB 0.02-0.05/W of price differences. Prices for glass-backsheet modules in other formats saw weaker rising momentum, coming in at RMB 2.03-2.1/W and RMB 2.08-2.1/W for the 166mm and 210mm format, respectively.  

In overseas markets, some previously renegotiated utility-scale ground-mounted projects materialized at prices slightly higher by USD 0.03-0.05/W, sealing small volumes of orders for glass-backsheet modules with a power output exceeding 500 W at USD 0.25-0.255/W. Overall, few new orders were signed for the fourth quarter, given lofty module price quotes and price quotes of USD 0.28-0.295/W for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W. Meanwhile, overseas markets appeared rather reserved, postponing some projects in Europe and India. Production costs stayed on an upward trend. As a result, module prices will fluctuate during 4Q21 and 1Q22, with outcomes of negotiations remaining obscured.  Price quotes in the first quarter of next year for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W have reportedly sat at USD 0.26-0.29/W. 

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