Polysilicon supplies are lowered in May as several manufacturers including Yongxiang, GCL Silicon, Sino-Si, Orisi Silicon, and OCI are conducting maintenance or reducing production, resulting in stabilized polysilicon prices this week and a possible upward trend in prices.
Since China’s May Day Holiday falls at the beginning of May, prices are expected to fluctuate more substantially after the May Day Holiday. The higher-than-expected downstream demand and lower supplies have given upstream sectors more hopes; yet, polysilicon prices are unlikely to rise significantly in May. Whether upstream sectors will witness strong demand like downstream sectors after China announced the new policy is something noteworthy at this point.
As for overseas markets, due to the increasing demand for polysilicon for mono-Si wafers, prices have increased marginally. Overall, buyers have an advantage over sellers in price negotiations. Overseas prices will change according to Chinese prices.
Although this week’s wafer market price stays constant as previous week in China, the low price has gone up. That narrowed the price range, allowing prices for polysilicon for multi-Si wafers to increase later. Therefore, prices are expected to rise after the May Day Holiday. On the other hand, prices of overseas multi-Si wafers, which are originally higher than Chinese prices, declined in early May in price negotiations but still remain higher than Chinese prices in order to maintain a certain price gap.
Wafer prices are expected to rebound in May following the uptrend in polysilicon prices. This week’s pricing of multi-Si wafer is at USD 0.254-0.257/piece in overseas markets and around RMB 1.9/piece in China. As for mono-Si wafer, Zhonghuan has kept prices unchanged, and therefore mono-Si wafer prices will remain stable.
Because both the mono-Si PERC and conventional multi-Si cell markets saw strong demand in May, all top-tier Chinese cell makers have difficulty keeping up with demand. Also, as the low season in Q2 saw stronger than usual demand, cell prices became the first to bottom out and bounce back slightly.
As for mono-Si PERC cell, top-tier manufacturers cannot keep up with strong demand, which has persisted in overseas markets including Europe and Japan and driven module makers to purchase more cells. Average prices of mono-Si PERC cells in May are slightly higher compared to April, with trading prices standing at RMB 1.19-1.21/W. In May, top and second-tier Chinese makers’ PERC cells have almost been sold out.
The number of conventional multi-Si cell suppliers becomes fewer as cell manufacturers have been upgrading their conventional multi-Si production lines to mono-Si PERC. In addition, Tongwei’s price increase in multi-Si cell last week has led to a slight upward trend in overall prices, pushing up the market price to RMB 0.85-0.87/W.
PERC module is still in high demand thanks to strong overseas demand. High-efficiency PERC module, particularly, saw slight tight supply, which helped stabilize overall module prices even though Chinese demand won’t revive until July.
The increasing demand from the emerging markets has stimulated multi-Si module demand. However, multi-Si module demand is not strong enough to push up prices at this moment, making manufacturers reluctant to increase output of multi-Si module.