This week’s polysilicon prices remained stable in both China and overseas markets. Since only a small number of manufacturers were negotiating prices in mid-May, stable supply and demand allowed prices to stay constant. Overall, most companies will begin negotiating prices for June before SNEC PV Power Expo takes place though only a small volume of orders will be booked, whereas some companies prefer to sign contracts after SNEC ends.
As the PV market outlook is believed to be positive in the second half of the year, polysilicon prices will see a steady uptrend. Once manufacturers, including GCL Silicon, Sino-Si, and Yongxiang Baotou, start resuming production, and TBEA starts releasing new capacity in June, polysilicon for multi-Si wafers, particularly, will face surplus supply.
OCI, which provides mostly mono-Si wafers, will conduct maintenance at its Korean factory, and hence affect supplies for polysilicon for mono-Si wafers; but a short supply is not likely to occur in the market. Polysilicon prices are expected to stay constant before SNEC. After SNEC, prices for polysilicon for mono-Si wafers will remain stable, while that for multi-Si wafers will depend on the volume of new capacity as well as the level of demand driven by China’s 2019 grid-parity scheme. As for overseas markets, despite the currency fluctuation, demand, prices, and transactions have remained stable, indicating a better market outlook.
Like polysilicon prices, wafer prices remained stable this week. Although multi-Si wafer makers want to raise prices as they are optimistic about future demand, they will keep prices the same before SNEC because demand for multi-Si modules hasn’t increased. However, after China released the new policy and the first round of grid-parity solar projects, multi-Si wafer demand is expected to rise in early June. By then, SNEC will mark a good time for buyers and sellers to negotiate prices.
Although prices for polysilicon for multi-Si wafers may not increase considerably, if multi-Si module demand increased, multi-Si wafer makers that are suffering from losses will take the chance to raise prices to a point at which total cost and total revenue are equal. Therefore, multi-Si wafer prices are expected to go up in the beginning of June. Meanwhile, mono-Si wafer makers may adjust prices in advance in late May following rising mono-Si module demand.
Though most cell makers haven’t confirmed prices for June this week, the order volumes being discussed initially reflect a possible short supply of mono PERC and conventional mono- and multi-Si cells in June. Thus, there’s a standoff between buyers and sellers at the moment, leading to stable prices this week. Cell prices are expected to trend up next month after leading cell manufacturer, Tongwei, announces official prices.
Owing to strong cell demand in June, cell prices may increase slightly in China. As for overseas cells, despite a rapid currency fluctuation, the cell sector will not reflect the currency depreciation due to short supply.
There are many updates on module prices at the 2019 Intersolar Europe that ended last week. Overall, Europe will see higher-than-expected demand this year, with total demand possibly reaching 19 GW. Although PERC capacity will continue to expand in the second half of the year, Tier-1 companies will keep their price quotes of 310W PERC module above USD 0.27/W.
High-efficiency modules such as 315W and 320W, on the other hand, can generate higher profits. In Q3 and Q4, small and medium-sized companies can offer lower module prices, but trading prices will not fluctuate significantly as the market outlook for mono-Si PERC module cells in the second half stays positive.
As for the U.S., demand will increase further in Q3 when entering the high season in the second half of the year. Not only the US market but also Southeast Asia has experienced short supply. As a result, module prices have increased slightly again and the upward trend may persist in the short-term.