Because polysilicon manufacturers have continually begun to conduct equipment maintenance last week, polysilicon prices have increased significantly. This week, leading multi-Si wafer makers have lowered the supplies substantially due to wafer shortage. Therefore, the multi-Si wafer market that originally suffered tight supply has started to witness short supply, leading to a rapid increase in prices. Furthermore, cell makers even had to lower the capacity utilization rates due to wafer short supply.
As top-tier polysilicon manufacturers began to conduct equipment maintenance in August and that the polysilicon supplies started to fluctuate for top-tier makers this week, polysilicon shortage has intensified. Spot prices continued to rise, reaching RMB 135/kg this week and RMB 140/kg for the polysilicon imports.
Affected by the short supply of polysilicon, the production of multi-Si wafers didn’t increase as much as anticipated. Leading manufacturers urgently lowered the supplies to each client, immediately causing the short supply of slurry wafers to be more serious than diamond wire and mono-Si wafers.
Slurry multi-Si wafer prices increased from RMB 4.9/piece last week to RMB 5.1-5.15/piece this week and are still difficult to get. The price of diamond wire wafers have followed suit, reaching RMB 4.6-4.7/piece. Meanwhile, Taiwanese multi-Si wafer makers that originally witnessed lower utilization rates have suffered from more serious supply shortage. Not just future prices may rise to more than US$ 0.67/piece, but also Taiwanese cell makers are expecting to lower the utilization rates as they can’t purchase enough number of multi-Si wafers.
The multi-Si cell market began to see rising prices this week following the increase in multi-Si wafer prices, increasing from the original RMB 1.8-1.83/W to RMB 1.83/W. Cell prices also increased in Taiwan, reaching US$ 0.235/W. Since multi-Si wafer prices will keep rising in the short run, multi-Si cell prices still have potential to increase in the future. However, demand of conventional mono-Si cell is still the weakest in all products, dropping below RMB 1.9/W.
Although the domestic and overseas demands have remained strong in Q3, with a relatively high order visibility, the overall price is still reflecting a downtrend. The fluctuation in supply/demand in the short run didn’t allow module prices to increase much. It’s common to see RMB 2.8-2.85/W for multi-Si modules in China. Module makers have to face the dilemma of higher upstream prices and lower price request from the end-user market. Therefore, module makers suffered from shrinking profits.