The International Trade Commission (ITC) had to present the “Section 201” case to the US President on November 13th. But since no news has been updated, the price trend this week was like last week.
After mono-Si wafer prices are lowered significantly in late-October, mono-Si product demand remained weak, leading to continuous low prices. The multi-Si market witnessed higher demand and prices instead. As late-November approaches, the overall supply chain waits to see if there will be another price war for mono and multi-Si wafers next month.
Most polysilicon have been traded for December. The average trading price reached RMB 149-154/kg in China and US$ 14-14.3/kg in the overseas.
Polysilicon prices are not likely to drop until demand weakens in December. The average trading price will be difficult to drop below RMB 135/kg before the end of this year. The significant decline of prices won’t start to show until January and February of 2018.
Since the transactions of wafers have mostly been completed, wafer prices this week didn’t change much: 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 reached RMB 5.05/piece this week and US$ 0.685/piece in the overseas. The average trading price of 180µm mono-Si wafers reached RMB 5.6-5.7/piece and US$ 0.75-0.76/piece.
Both DW and slurry wafers are very popular. Everyone is waiting to see when multi-Si wafer prices will drop substantially next month. However, in consideration of the product demand trend in 1H18, not just multi-Si wafer prices are expecting to drop to maintain the cost effectiveness, mono-Si wafer prices will stay in line with DW multi-Si wafers. Leading mono and multi-Si wafer makers’ pricing strategies next month will certainly affect the market trend of 1H18.
Multi-Si cell demand and prices remained stable in China and Taiwan. The average trading price of cells reached RMB 1.75/W in China and US$ 0.222-0.225/W in Taiwan. Taiwanese cell prices are still slightly lower than Chinese cells. Prices in third-party countries slightly declined, reaching US$ 0.235-0.24/W.
After mono and multi-Si cell reaching the same price in China, mono-Si cell demand slightly increased. But the large price gap between conventional and mono-Si PERC cells has led to continuous weak demand for conventional cells. Although PERC cell prices remained stable at RMB 2/W in China, there weren’t many new orders transacted. Meanwhile, Taiwanese manufacturers had sales pressures, and thus prices dropped from US$ 0.275-0.28/W last week to US$ 0.27-0.275/W this week in Taiwan.
Chinese and Taiwanese cell makers have started to adjust their product strategies for next month. Some will lower their utilization rates for mono-Si PERC production lines or switch back to conventional mono-Si. Yet, the move will squeeze further the conventional mono-Si product that was original lack of demand. As a result, some conventional mono-Si makers had to switch back to multi-Si products or suspend some production lines due to weaker prices. Apparently, the total mono-Si cell production in December will be slightly lower than November. Taiwanese cell makers are expecting to lower their utilization rates slightly as well in December.
Since there is no news update for the “Section 201” case recently, the module market didn’t change much this week. Top-tier manufacturers from China and the overseas can run at full capacities till late-December. But because India is still going through the investigation for the anti-dumping and countervailing duties, demand in 1Q18 remains to be seen. What can foresee at this point is that staring from late-December; prices may start to decline following the weak demand in Europe and the US and the unknown demand in India.