This week’s polysilicon prices remained flat from last week. Either polysilicon or wafer manufacturers are not willing to give in for December prices, leading to stagnated overall prices. Judging from the surprisingly higher multi cell prices, polysilicon price for multi wafer use should stay stable in December. For mono wafer use, despite the stable demand, it’s estimated that polysilicon price for mono wafer use will still drop a few RMB in December following an overseas price slightly lower than China market, higher industrial concentration for mono wafer use polysilicon makers, and higher supplies. The price gap between polysilicon for mono & multi wafer use will shrink further. For the overseas, polysilicon prices remained stable, leading to higher trading volume. This shows that the market demand didn’t decline further in December, instead, it rebounded. Polysilicon was traded at US$ 8.3-9/kg.
Due to the lower currency rates, multi wafer is priced at US$ 0.265-0.268/piece in the overseas this week. However, because the overall demand remains stable, price drop is limited in the beginning of December. On the other hand, the stronger multi demand and higher cell prices made the multi wafer sector tempt to raise prices. Yet, a balanced supply and demand relationship has been created as wafer makers are not running at full capacity at the moment, if wafer prices are increased, utilization rate may go up, leading to higher output. Therefore, the highest/lowest price may scale up in the short run, but the average prices won’t rise substantially. Meanwhile, the mono wafer market sees higher demand with price remaining flat in December.
The cell sector has started to negotiate for December prices this week. Judging from the current quote in prices, all cell prices reflect an uptrend except conventional mono cell.
Supply shortage continues for PERC cells in December. Because it’s difficult to obtain PERC cells in both China and the overseas markets, the quote in bi-facial mono PERC cell with an efficiency of over 21.5% has increased from RMB 1.25/W in November to RMB 1.28/W. Prices of 21.5%+ mono PERC cell rose even more substantially, from the previous RMB 1.2/W to RMB 1.25/W. Although quotes in PERC cell prices have risen significantly, both buyers and sellers are still negotiating and thus an official quote in prices is not released yet. With the high-efficiency cell market still in short supply, official quote in prices is likely to match the expectation.
Overseas prices have reflected an uptrend at the same time. Especially with a boom in installation at the end of this year in Taiwan, the Taiwanese market witnessed strong demand. Price of mono PERC cells reached US$ 0.168-0.172/W.
Not just the mono PERC cell has witnessed strong demand, but also the multi cell has experienced tight supply due to the continuously lower utilization rate before. Cell makers continually increased the quote in multi cell prices for December, reaching RMB 0.88/W in China and over US$ 0.107/W in the overseas. Currently, module makers haven’t accepted the rise in multi cell prices yet, but the actual situation will be clearer in the next few days.
Although the rise in cell prices has pushed up module cost, module prices won’t change significantly in the short run as the prices for the end of this year have been confirmed long time ago. It appears that there will be demand from the “General Top Runner Program” that didn’t finish on time and manufacturers will be preparing for stock before the Chinese Lunar New Year, and thus the amount of orders should not be too low in January 2019. However, demand will still decline significantly after the Lunar New Year. Judging from the current quote in module prices, module prices will slowly drop in 1Q19.