Strong earthquake took place this Tuesday night and Wednesday morning was near the major manufacturing sites of polysilicon and mono-Si wafers: Xinjiang, Sichuan, and Xi’an. Fortunately, the polysilicon makers indicated that the earthquake didn’t affect much. The supply of polysilicon didn’t get worse, but the impact on the mono-Si wafers remains to be seen.
The crisis of the short supply for leading multi-Si wafer company’s material sources has been solved this week. The amount of supplies for polysilicon and multi-Si wafers will follow the original schedule. Top-tier polysilicon manufacturers have continually begun to conduct the equipment maintenance for this year in China and therefore the short supply of polysilicon in August and September will not be alleviated easily, driving up the spot price to RMB 140/kg. In addition, with the continuous increase in polysilicon prices recently, the prices in the overseas markets will surge as well.
A lot of transactions have been completed for multi-Si wafers last week. It’s difficult to get the on-hand stock of wafers this week. Under the circumstances where there are no more transactions for multi-Si wafers, the price increase was minimal this week, reaching RMB 5.1-5.3/piece. Diamond wire multi-Si wafer is priced at RMB 4.65-4.75/piece in China and is still difficult to get. That slurry based multi-Si wafer in Taiwan have increased to US$ 0.67-0.7/piece.
The rise of multi-Si wafer prices still slightly reflected on the multi-Si cells. The average trading price of multi-Si cells has increased from RMB 1.81-1.83/W to RMB 1.85/W in China and reached US$ 0.236-0.24/W in Taiwan. The high cell prices have given a lot of pressures for module makers. Price of multi-Si cell is estimated to have peaked recently.
On the other hand, the average trading price of mono-Si cells has dropped to RMB 1.85-1.9/W this week. The lowest price is almost identical to multi-Si cell prices. Although it appears that mono-Si cell has better cost effectiveness, the demand of conventional mono-Si products has remained weak because the contracts signed when mono-Si wafer was in serious short supply before were mostly multi-Si cells. As a result, multi-Si cell prices have increased. Fortunately, the mono-Si high-efficiency cell market continued to witness strong demand, with the mono-Si PERC cell prices reaching US$ 0.3-0.35/W.
Not just the upstream sectors suffer from chaotic pricing; the downstream sectors also witness price ups and downs. The module orders signed earlier are expecting weaker prices in August and September. Owing to the strong demands in the US and Europe, the price of conventional multi-Si modules has increased to more than US$ 0.42/W in the US and Europe.
The Japanese market that originally suffered from significant decline in prices has witness a price rebound to US$ 0.35-36/W. Module prices in India that have always remained weak have gone up to over US$ 0.33/W as well.
Looking ahead, demand in the US and Europe will remain strong in September. Meanwhile, demand will stay flat in Japan and India in Q4. Consequently, the largest uncertainty is still the future development of the Chinese market. If Chinese demand does not drop substantially in September and October, prices will still have supports. But if demand for Chinese utility-scale power plants drops rapidly, the downtrend in prices will start from the downstream to upstream sectors, leading to weak prices for all sectors of the supply chain.