Prices didn’t fluctuate much this week as manufacturers are about to announce new price quotes for January. Judging from the current market momentum, the multi-Si market still witnessed strong demand. It may take another 2-3 months for the mono-Si market to see higher demand when downstream power plant sector experiences higher cost effectiveness.
Since some polysilicon manufacturers (including top-tier polysilicon makers) are still conducting the equipment maintenance from December to the beginning of next year, the average trading price of polysilicon still reached RMB 150-156/kg. In addition, the strong multi-Si wafer demand in January allows polysilicon demand to stay stable. Although mono-Si wafer makers have continually lowered the capacity utilization rates, it seems that polysilicon prices will remain high in January.
Due to weak demand of mono-Si cells and modules, mono-Si wafer makers other than leading manufacturers have lowered the utilization rates. However, prices this week didn’t change much from last week. The average trading price of 180μm wafers reached RMB 5.5/piece for leading manufacturers and RMB 5.2-5.4/piece for second-tier. The overseas 180μm mono-Si wafer is priced at US$ 0.72-0.735/piece. Future price trend will depend on how the two major mono-Si wafer makers lead.
The multi-Si market sees completely different views as mono-Si. Stimulated by the strong demand in India and China, it seems that multi-Si demand will remain strong in January 2018. Although diamond wire (DW) multi-Si wafer capacity increases every month, DW multi-Si wafer is in tight supply. Cell makers have started to check with wafer makers of the DW wafer supplies for January, making sure they can get enough stock. As a result, multi-Si wafer prices are not likely to drop substantially in the short run. This week, the average trading price of DW multi-Si wafers reached RMB 4.75/piece in China and US$ 0.65/piece in the overseas.
The mono-Si PERC cell market still witnessed decline in prices. The average trading price of mono-Si PERC cells dropped to RMB 1.75-1.85/W in China and US$ 0.245-0.250/W in Taiwan. Despite the large gap between PERC cell prices in Taiwan and China, prices are likely to drop further in Taiwan.
The multi-Si cell market still witnessed strong demand. The average trading price reached US$ 0.22-0.222/W for slurry cells and US$ 0.216-0.219/W for DW cells in the overseas. But as the end of the year approaches, module makers have to conduct inventory control and adjustment. Consequently, the order negotiation becomes conservative for multi-Si cells at the end of this month. The trend won’t be clear until next week.
Recently, China launched many projects. Judging from the bidding prices, module makers are not too pessimistic about future module prices due to high polysilicon prices. Therefore, the bidding or winning prices have just dropped slightly or stayed flat as the market prices. Module spot prices are not likely to fluctuate much in the short run in China.
The PERC module market faces pressures in sales and inventory control with barely anyone asked about the product. It takes about one quarter to stimulate end-use demand according to the “golden cross” of mono & multi-Si prices previously. In addition, the “Top Runner Program” initiated in Q2 will stimulate mono-Si demand, leading to higher mono-Si demand starting from Q2.