This week, polysilicon prices stabilized at RMB 74/kg for mono-Si wafers and RMB 61/kg for multi-Si wafers, with most Tier-1 makers filling orders from the previous period without signing any new deal. Without a bulging inventory to reduce, polysilicon producers are not likely to offer lower prices; they make some price adjustment for a handful of orders to test the market.
There is no doubt that the narrowing price gap between polysilicon prices for mono-Si and multi-Si wafers undermines the profitability of cast mono makers and influences their utilization rates. With the future demand for multi-Si products expected to be low, the stability of multi-Si wafer prices will depend on polysilicon prices. If cast mono makers can raise the share of low-cost materials used in the production of cast-mono wafers without compromising the quality of this product, they could reduce the high cost of polysilicon.
The supply of polysilicon for mono-Si wafers falls somewhat short of demand for mono-Si wafers in Q4. Moreover, the polysilicon price for mono-Si wafers has stabilized thanks to the stable price quotes offered by the two wafer giants, Longi and Zhonghuan Solar. An appreciating RMB against the dollar, coupled with exchange rate variations, has lifted the high price of foreign polysilicon prices for mono-Si and multi-Si wafers.
This week’s multi-Si wafer price dived to RMB 1.75–1.82/piece as a result of a slump in multi-Si cell prices and stagnate demand for multi-Si products. However, while Tier-1 wafer makers insist on higher price quotes, the market price has fallen below RMB 1.8/piece. Moreover, some traders and small producers—in a bid to maintain cash flow—sell products at bargain prices, disrupting the market price accordingly.
Cast mono makers trading at the spot market tend to offer lower prices to attract more business from downstream customers, but cutting prices in panic can cause cell producers to bide their time. Cast mono makers may lower their utilization rates before polysilicon prices weaken. The multi-Si wafer price may decline further before polysilicon prices show any noticeable decrease. The multi-Si wafer price, which has slid in China, has fallen to USD 0.231–0.235/piece in overseas markets.
Mono-Si wafers maintain their overall price stability following price negotiations and a jump in the price for mono PERC cells early in November. Yet, Tier-2 makers have lowered their trading prices, while the market price hovers at under RMB 3/piece. The cast-mono wafer price stabilized at a market price of RMB 2.65–2.7/piece in China and USD 0.35–0.355/piece overseas.
Due to stagnant demand, the price for multi-Si cells were fluctuating more wildly this week, with their market price arriving at around RMB 3.2/piece or RMB 0.696/W. Last week, some traders and small producers even traded at a price as low as RMB 3.05–3.15/piece, widening the overall price gap in the market. This price range has reached the break-even point for multi-Si cell production lines because most of them are old.
Moreover, the Chinese price for multi-Si cells is approaching its lowest point, as multi-Si cell production lines have either reverted to produce mono-Si cells or shut down. In terms of overseas markets, India still dominates demand for multi-Si product. Recently, multi-Si cell prices for Indian market have been falling and reached USD 0.086–0.09/W this week, a range almost comparable to that seen in China.
The price for M2-sized mono PERC cells increased slightly to RMB 0.93–0.95/W because such cells are used in the construction of some ongoing PV projects in China, thereby allowing demand for the cells to exceed that for larger cells these days. The market price for 158.75mm (G1) full square mono wafers was RMB 0.95–0.97/W. Overseas wafer prices improved due to exchange rate variations, although this price change was small because some module makers abroad had placed wafer orders when wafer prices were low.
Low demand for multi-Si products has hit multi-Si cells since the end of China’s National Day holiday. Meanwhile, the number of orders for conventional multi-Si modules has yet picked up, with the multi-Si module price having fluctuated after the prices for multi-Si cells and wafers collapsed respectively. Quite a few producers saw the price for their conventional multi-Si modules having fallen below RMB 1.65/W and some projects saw modules being quoted at an extremely low level. However, the price reduction may not help lift module demand for the short term and the inconsistent module pricing will remain in place for a short while.