Leading mono-Si wafer makers announced the latest price quotes: prices in December will stay flat from November. This surprised the PV industry and the multi-Si wafer market with strong demand may stop lowering prices temporarily. Polysilicon and wafer prices will remain high in early-December, putting more pressures on cell and module makers when demand rapidly weakens by the end of the year.
On November 21st, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced the review result of dumping and dumping margin on the Korean polysilicon imports. Compare the new tax rates to the old ones, OCI’s increased from 2.4% to 4.4%. Hanwha Q-Cell’s dropped from 12.3% to 8.9% and Hankook Silicon’s increased from 2.8% to 9.5%.
Since polysilicon orders for December have mostly been confirmed, new polysilicon prices will just lead to a slight increase in prices for some orders and will not result in significant increase of overall polysilicon prices. The average trading price of polysilicon reached RMB 149-155/kg in China, while overseas polysilicon prices didn’t fluctuate much.
Leading mono-Si wafer makers just released the new price quotes: the average trading price of 180µm mono-Si wafers reached RMB 5.6/piece in China and US$ 0.75/piece in the overseas for December. This made mono-Si wafer prices to stay flat this week. The overall prices will not fluctuate much in December either.
The multi-Si wafer market hasn’t decided the price trend for December, but prices in December will be similar to November for mono-Si wafers that already witnessed weaker demand. Under the circumstances where the order visibility remains high for diamond wire (DW) and slurry multi-Si wafers, the price trend of DW and slurry multi-Si wafers may be like mono-Si wafers – prices in December are similar to November.
The multi-Si cell market will still witness strong demand in December. In addition, multi-Si wafer prices are not likely to drop, and therefore China and Taiwan may aim at flat multi-Si cell prices. The average trading price of cells reached RMB 1.75/W in China and US$ 0.222-0.225/W in Taiwan. However, as the end of the year approaches, demand is expecting to drop more significantly. Whether multi-Si cell prices can stay flat in late-December or not remains unclear.
Since Christmas holidays are approaching in Europe and the final result of the US “Section 201” case will soon be announced, the amount of orders for third-party country cells begin to decline starting from December. The average trading price reached US$ 0.235/W.
For mono-Si, although the average trading price of mono-Si PERC cells has dropped to RMB 1.95-2/W in China and US$ 0.27-0.273/W in Taiwan, there weren’t many new orders placed. The price reduction can’t seem to stimulate the demand, and thus PERC cell demand may remain weak in December.
As leading mono-Si wafer makers didn’t reduce prices, lower mono-Si cell prices have forced cell makers to adjust the product share. Some manufacturers will switch the mono-Si PERC production lines back to conventional mono-Si, while some will lower the capacity utilization rates for mono-Si PERC. How manufacturers switch back to conventional mono-Si production lines will certainly squeeze the conventional mono-Si market with weak demand originally.
As a result, some conventional mono-Si cell makers began to manufacture conventional multi-Si or suspend some production lines as prices remained weak. It’s obvious that the total mono-Si cell production in December will be slightly lower than November. Meanwhile, Taiwanese cell makers may slightly lower their utilization rates in December too.
Overall, the module market still witnesses lower mono-Si and stable multi-Si module prices. Under the circumstances where order visibility remains low for late-December in Europe and the US, prices in third-party countries started to decline. The US market that always see high prices have begun to experience downtrend. It seems that multi-Si module demand is still higher than mono-Si, shrinking the price gap between mono and multi-Si modules. Yet, the mono-Si module market also witnessed limited price decline following the stable wafer prices. The market conditions after late-December remains to be seen.