Polysilicon production capacity has been growing since the beginning of year, with actual production volume duly increasing. In May, production volumes of some leading polysilicon manufacturers drop, owing to partial line inspections or line mergences for new production capacity that affect power supply. Still, this month is expected to see 65,000-66,000 MT of monthly production volume, a 4-6% increase on April’s level, thanks to new capacities that came online earlier this year.
Returning from the Labor Day holiday, the market sees upstream shortages show no sign of easing. Polysilicon supply remains tight. Trading prices for mono-grade polysilicon advance further, coming in at RMB 252-257/kg, whilst that of recycled polysilicon scrap sit slightly higher. Overall, prices in the polysilicon sector stand above RMB 250/kg.
Production volume has increased 16% this month, compared with levels in January. Still, prices rise on stronger end user demand and disproportionate supply-demand relationship caused by exceedingly fast capacity expansion of ingot facilities.
Pricings from Tier-2 wafer manufacturers remain unchanged as of May 11, after the two wafer supermajors raised pricings on April 27. Future price trend will be updated as per market movements.
Faced with persistent polysilicon price hikes that push up silicon costs and out of pursuit for profits, mono-Si wafer manufacturers ramp up the development of thinner wafers. For now, only leading manufacturers stick to 165μm of thickness, whilst most of the rest switch to 155-160μm. Some manufacturers have completed the transition to 155μm.
Wafer manufacturers offer price quotes with smaller and smaller thicknesses. Given that, from May 11 onwards, spot prices for 166mm and 182mm wafers will be posted based on 160μm of thickness. Further adjustments shall be made as per market movements.
The USD/RMB exchange rate fluctuates dramatically in recent terms. The impact has yet to be felt by the wafer sector this week, while downstream sectors have responded immediately.
In China, the pandemic wears on, but logistical logjams across sectors start to ease. This month, production lines for mainstream formats run at full capacity. Given high utilization rates, cell manufacturers keep challenging the downstream with higher price quotes, which come in at RMB 1.19/W for mainstream formats. Subject to size transition of manufacturers, the less price-sensitive M6 cells see even fewer supply, with several manufacturers raising price quotes to RMB 1.13-1.14/W. In overseas markets, prices fluctuate as the dollar rises.
This week, M6, M10, and G12 cells are traded at RMB 1.1-1.14/W, RMB 1.75-1.19/W, and RMB 1.15-1.17/W, receptively. Prices for multi-Si cells sustained at RMB 3.9-4.4/piece, and USD 0.55-0.57/piece in overseas markets.
As prices peak, some Tier-1 module makers suspend purchases. Cell prices are expected to hit resistance within the recent two months and step on a downward trip in June due to limited end user acceptance. In the meantime, overseas markets see slightly higher order volume, as they have bigger bargaining chip, thanks to elevated prices in China and advantage in exchange rates.
Module prices keep rising. Supply chain, glass, and EVA prices mount in the first half of the month. Module makers returning from the Labor Day holiday raise prices successfully. For now, Tier-1 manufacturers’ price quotes for glass-backsheet module rated beyond 500 W have increased by RMB 0.05-0.1/W, with some end users start accepting RMB 1.9/W of prices. Given ceaseless raw material price hikes, module makers continue to revise price quotes upwardly to RMB 1.92-1.96/W and even RMB 2/W.
New orders in May are expected to be delivered at RMB 1.88-1.95/W for utility-scale projects, and RMB 1.92-1.94/W for distributed ones, with RMB 0.02-0.04/W of differences between glass-glass modules rated beyond 500 W and their glass-backsheet counterparts. Subject to lofty prices and the pandemic, not many projects are initiated in the first half of the month. Overall, prices average at around RMB 1.9-1.92/W.
In overseas markets, prices stabilize for the time being, with small fluctuations in accordance with the dollar. Still, the Asia-Pacific region seals some orders for the second and third quarter at USD 0.265-0.27/W (FOB).
In Europe, delivery prices peak. Inventory draws from end users weaken, as high prices curb demand. For now, prices for glass-backsheet module rated beyond 500 W sit at USD 0.27-0.275/W, reaching beyond USD 0.28-0.30/W on the spot market. Residential projects see prices coming in at USD 0.285-0.30/W. Prices for modules with black backsheet stand at USD 0.295-0.35/W.
In the U.S., end users grow to accept higher prices to quell the risk of future investigation for any circumventing activity. Presently, only few orders are declared at the U.S. customs. Price trend appears steady by far, with sales prices in Southeast Asia and the U.S. seeing rising momentum. U.S. demand hinges on future policy framework.
N-type cell and module
Prices see no evident changes as the market has yet to see many price quotes for n-type products. Prices for M6 HJT cells sit at around RMB 1.28-1.35/W.
M10 and G12 TOPCon cells have not seen much trading by far, with prices coming in at RMB 1.2-1.25/W for the time being.
Module prices slightly rise on higher production costs, coming in at RMB 2.1-2.15/W for M6 HJT modules, and USD 0.28-0.33 in overseas markets.
M10 and G12 TOPCon module prices stay where they were last week, at RMB 1.95-2.05/W, and USD 0.28-0.3 in overseas markets.