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Updated July 26, 2018

This week’s quote for mono-Si wafers saw another dramatic downturn. Not only did this caused the previously prosperous multi-Si supply chain tremendous pressure, the sales strategy of upstream polysilicon and the price trend of downstream cells and modules will also be affected in no time.

Should mono-Si cells, modules and conventional multi-Si products become even closer in price differences, the recently high demand for non-Chinese multi-Si modules can once again switch to mono-Si modules. The price trend of wafers is undoubtedly a decisive factor for the product trends of terminal markets.

 

Poly

This week’s polysilicon price continued to climb thanks to consistent demand and slightly tense inventory of spot goods. Multi-Si wafer use have reached RMB 86/kg in China, and mono-Si wafer use grew to RMB 96/kg after having stayed at the same level for three weeks. The lowest price of multi-Si and mono-Si wafer use were both higher than the average price last week, so the overall polysilicon market is now in a “low production, high price” situation. Judging from the figures in July, the polysilicon supply in August may be even lower, supporting the price.

However, due to another price decrease by Longi, mono-Si and multi-Si wafer demand will possibly fluctuate. At the same time, whether polysilicon makers can concede again regardless of the long-awaited high price is another determinant of the August price trend. Currently speaking, polysilicon will be low in supply in August, but few orders were dealt this week. Downstream purchase strategies are to be determined according to whether wafer prices will affect polysilicon prices in the future. For non-Chinese markets, demand is on the rise, but the prices have not shown apparent increase.
 

Wafer

This week’s wafer prices were more dramatic. Before Longi announced its prices, multi-Si wafer prices rose to RMB 2.4-2.55/piece in response to market demand. However, after Longi’s new prices, the room for increase for multi-Si wafers might entirely disappear.

Longi’s conventional wafers were quoted RMB 3.15/piece, US$ 0.395/piece this time, lower than the market expectation. This was due not only to the less prosperous polysilicon prices, but also the decreased conventional mono-Si wafer prices, which have gone lower than RMB 3.2/piece and US$ 0.4/piece.

Longi’s new quotes helped shrink the price gap of conventional mono-Si and multi-Si wafers to RMB 0.65/piece, US$ 0.07/piece. As a result, a large amount of multi-Si wafer orders in August may require renegotiations. Although some downstream orders have difficulties in conversion and still require multi-Si wafers, mono-Si and multi-Si orders placed after September are possible to have reconversion once the price gap shrinks to the aforementioned range. At the same time, multi-Si wafer prices are likely to witness another downturn, further affecting the upstream polysilicon market and the possibility of production resumption of multi-Si wafer makers.
 

Cell

With this week being the brink of the release of new wafer prices, recently the prices trends of all cells have appeared rather conservative. A new round of price negotiation will only begin after the release of new wafer prices. Therefore, multi-Si cell prices remained consistent this week at RMB 1.03 – 1.07/W, US$ 0.133-0.136/W in non-Chinese markets; mono-Si PERC cells averaged RMB 1.15-1.3/W, US$ 0.17-0.18/W.

The recent decrease margin of mono-Si wafers was larger than expected. This has made it possible for the calming conventional mono-Si, mono-Si PERC cells to once again decrease in prices in response to the wafer decrease. The downtrend of mono-Si products will also put apparent pressure on multi-Si cells, which have been brewing an increase due to short supply. The market situation where conventional mono-Si and multi-Si cells sold at the same price can turn into where conventional mono-Si cells are apparently lower than conventional multi-Si cells. This will eventually affect the mono-Si and multi-Si product selection strategies in terminal markets.
 

Module

Looking at recent module price trends, modules in China have become consistent at RMB 2-2.1/W for multi-Si modules and RMB 2.2-2.35/W for mono-Si PERC. Module prices in non-Chinese markets are on a slight decrease.

Currently, the most concerning uncertainty in the module market is India’s safeguard inspection measures. According to sources, India’s safeguard measures will probably have a further conclusion in August. Therefore, investors of India’s power stations are all hoping to acquire their original amount of orders as soon as possible to avoid additional duties. Also, with the arrival of safeguard measures nearing and the chaotic price trends in mid- and upstream markets, buyers and sellers of modules have low willingness and eagerness to stock up in India due to the country’s safeguard measures.