Since Tier-1 polysilicon producers signed orders in batches, most producers have been filling orders and so their inventories have been shrinking to normal levels. Polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers stay flat this week, sitting at RMB 58–60/kg in the market and at RMB 59/kg on average. Compared to early April, polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers have declined by 19%, coming close to the cash costs of Tier-1 makers’ older production lines and Tier-2 makers.
So, most manufacturers have their production lines undergone maintenance recently to keep prices stable. It seems that prices are not likely to decrease much. Producers are seeking to raise their prices. They are testing the waters by offering higher quotes. The market price for polysilicon for mono-Si wafers will become relatively certain next week.
Polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafer stayed at RMB 29–31/kg this week, averaging RMB 30/kg, as there has been not much improvement in downstream demand for multi products and only a handful of deals on polysilicon for multi-Si wafers have been clinched. Foreign polysilicon prices averaged USD 6.8/kg for mono-Si wafers and USD 4.7/kg for multi-Si wafers this week because exchange rates showed little change and deals were struck in modest numbers.
Multi-Si wafer prices in China were generally consistent this week with their previous levels, staying at RMB 1.05–1.2/piece in the market, and averaging RMB 1.12/piece. As operating multi-Si producers are running at low capacity and downstream multi demand is persistently stagnant, supply and demand are relatively balanced, allowing decrease in multi-Si wafer prices to slow down.
Overseas multi-Si wafer prices declined by USD 0.01/piece across the board this week, coming in at USD 0.15–0.154/piece, and averaging USD 0.152/piece—as negotiations are being restarted thanks to India’s scheduled reopening in June and multi demand from other overseas markets.
With overseas end-market demand having been depressed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Tier-2 and 3 makers bringing new production capacities online, it has become more difficult for Tier-1 makers to receive orders and reduce stocks. As a result, Tier-1 makers cut their mono-Si wafer prices twice in April and May. This week, multi-Si wafer prices in China were RMB 2.36–2.52/piece for G1 and RMB 2.52–2.61/piece for M6, whereas those in overseas markets were USD 0.307–0.316/piece for G1 and USD 0.322–0.327/piece for M6. Prices for G1 and M6 mono-Si wafers had plunged by 23% compared to their levels at the end of March.
On the whole, although mono-Si wafers were more profitable than other segments in the supply chain, they were hit by two months of considerable price decline. This has undermined profitability among Tier-2 and 3 makers; the producers may only take modest price cuts next time. If new production lines come online as expected in the second half of this year and producers maintain a utilization rate of over 90%, then mono-Si wafer supply would continue to outstrip demand. If this is the case, then mono-Si wafers would again sustain two price reductions next month—but in a lesser extent than last time.
Tier-1 mono-Si wafer makers Longi again cut their prices on May 25. On that same day Tongwei announced its June prices—which are consistent with their levels in May—thus allowing mono-Si cell prices to stabilize. So, mono-Si cell prices maintained their previous levels at RMB 0.79–0.8/W for G1 and M6 and averaged USD 0.1/W in overseas markets.
High-priced mono-Si cells are likely to achieve price increase, with some quotes offered at RMB 0.83/W. But this might not happen because mono-Si wafer price reductions would cause the costs of mono-Si cells to decrease and thus offset their selling prices—a balance that can make the cells more profitable. Looking ahead, mono-Si cell prices will remain stable thanks to the June 30 installation rush and the gradual recovery in some overseas markets, but they may revert to a slow downward trend in mid-June, when the installation rush will be coming to an end.
Prices for M2-sized mono-Si cells continued to rise on June 30 installation rush amid short supply. This week, the prices were RMB 0.79–0.8/W in most deals but reached RMB 0.8–0.82/W in a few other deals. But when the June 30 installation rush is completed, the prices will stop rising and start to fall. There will be a small number of overseas orders for M2-sized mono-Si cells until the second half of this year, and such cells will be available only by placing custom orders.
Multi-Si cell prices started to change for this week—as India, the largest market for such cells, will soon lift its COVID-19 lockdown and some cell producers are making deliveries to the market. So, multi-Si cell prices now average RMB 2.3/piece and sit at a low of RMB 2.2–2.25/W.
As the calendar moves toward June, the June 30 installation rush has entered its later phase. After the end of June, Chinese module demand will slow again. To secure more orders, price quotes offered for modules to be delivered in the second half have been declining markedly. The mainstream price for mono PERC modules will drop to RMB 1.5–1.55/W in the second half of this year, with dramatic price declines predicted for 430–440 W high-power modules and 395–410 W typical modules.