Following the weaker demands in all regions as September approaches, the cell sector witnessed the most significant decline in prices as the anticipation. Cell profits have slowly been squeezed under the circumstances where polysilicon and wafer prices remained high.
The schedule of equipment maintenance is clear for polysilicon makers. Many top-tier makers are conducting the equipment maintenance in September. Therefore, the polysilicon market will witness tight supply. The average trading price of Chinese polysilicon will increase to RMB 145-150/kg in September. However, the overall supply chain prices should have peaked. As manufacturers are expecting for lower prices in the future, mid-to-downstream manufacturers will be more conservative when purchasing polysilicon.
This week, the average trading price of slurry multi-Si wafers reached RMB 5.1-5.3/piece. That of diamond wire reached RMB 4.65-4.75/piece. The Taiwanese market with more serious wafer shortage saw higher prices this week. Wafers made in non-Chinese regions have increased to more than US$ 0.71/piece. Consequently, Chinese wafers that are priced at US$ 0.69-0.71/piece is still a choice with higher cost effectiveness.
Due to the fewer supplies, leading mono-Si wafer makers revised the prices upward, leading to higher mono-Si wafer prices in different regions.
As wafer prices remain strong and module makers keep lowering the prices, cell makers are stuck in between. Chinese mono and multi-Si cell prices have declined significantly following the trade barriers to high-priced markets like the US and Europe. The average trading price of conventional multi-Si cells dropped to RMB 1.75/W and RMB 1.85-1.87/W for mono-Si cells this week. Mono-Si PERC cell is priced at RMB 2.3-2.4/W.
Overseas prices have more supports as the overseas cells can still be exported to the US and European markets. Cell prices also slightly increased in third-party countries. However, if Chinese cell prices keep declining, Taiwanese cell prices will be lowered further. As wafer prices remain high, cell makers may have to decide whether they will lower the capacity utilization rates.
The module market still witnessed chaotic pricing. But Chinese module makers with fewer capacities have started to see lower prices. It’s estimated that the global PV demand will have no support from the major markets from late-September to October. After cell prices begin to decline, all other sectors of the supply chain will suffer from lower prices as well.