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Author InfoLink
Updated November 02, 2017

Since it’s rumored that China will impose a duty rate, which is not likely to affect the industry, on the Korean polysilicon imports and the details of the “Section 201” were slightly revealed yesterday, the recent market uncertainties have slowly been settled. Next, the market will focus on India’s trade war, next year’s installation boom in China, and the timing when polysilicon sees alleviated supply shortage.

In addition, the leading company, Longi has lowered the prices of mono-Si wafers the week before last week. Chinese cell makers reported that mono and multi-Si cells have reached the same prices, leading to competition between mono and multi-Si cells once again. This will be a preparation for the off-peak selling season in 1Q18.

InfoLink believes that although it appears that the US installation next year won’t decline much from 2017 according to the remedy measures announced on October 31st for the “Section 201” case, US manufacturers are getting ready to stock in 3Q-4Q17 for 1Q18 demand. The US market is likely to witness weak demand in 1Q18. After going through strong demand from Q2 to Q4 in China, it seems that there won’t be an installation boom in 1Q18. The Chinese market will also see weak demand in 1Q18.

The peak-selling season for the emerging markets will mostly be in 2H18. With the only support from India and Japan, Q1 will be the quarter with the weakest demand in 2018. Rapid price decline caused by the oversupply can be foreseen.
 

Poly

China will announce the anti-dumping and countervailing duties for Korean polysilicon imports recently. If the new tax rate is still within 10%, the long-term crisis that has been confronted by the polysilicon market will come to an end under the circumstances where the future price trend of mono/multi-Si wafers is not affected.

Since wafer prices have started to reflect a downtrend, polysilicon prices will not have more rooms to increase. The average trading price of polysilicon reached RMB 149-154/kg in China and US$ 14-14.3/kg in the overseas.

Polysilicon prices are likely to drop following the weaker demand in December. Yet, it may take some time for polysilicon makers to resume the productions from equipment maintenance, and therefore prices will just slightly drop and won’t decline substantially until 1Q18.
 

Wafer

The average trading price of diamond wire (DW) multi-Si wafers reached RMB 4.75/piece in China and US$ 0.645-0.65/piece in the overseas. That of slurry wafers reached RMB 5.05/piece in China this week and US$ 0.685/piece in the overseas.

A leading mono-Si wafer maker lowered the prices significantly last week, driving down the price to RMB 5.6-5.7/piece (US$ 0.75-0.76/piece) for 180µm and RMB 0.15/piece (US$ 0.02/piece) for 190µm.

According to InfoLink’s data statistic, the total capacity has reached 27.5GW for Longi and Zhonghuan by the end of this year, 4-5GW higher than GCL’s capacity. As mono-Si wafer capacity continues to expand next year, the competition between mono and multi-Si wafers next year will affect the product trend.
 

Cell

Many Chinese cell makers came up with shocking news: the average trading price reached RMB 1.75/W for both mono and multi-Si cells. This is to stimulate the weak demand for mono-Si cells. However, Taiwanese cell prices didn’t change much from last week. Multi-Si cell prices dropped to US$ 0.222-0.225/W. PERC cell prices declined to US$ 0.28-0.285/W.
 

Module

Following the decline of wafer and cell prices, regional module prices continue to decline this week. It seems that module demand stays flat in November but doubts begin to appear for the demand in late-December. In addition, China’s installation boom for distributed generation (DG) systems still didn’t show, and thus demand will certainly decline in December. The overall supply chain is expecting to drop further by the end of this year.