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Updated August 12, 2020

Polysilicon

In anticipation of polysilicon shortage amid short polysilicon supply, wafer manufacturers have been raising prices for mono-Si wafer orders since late July, leading to an upward trend in pricing across the supply chain. As polysilicon prices are still climbing, price negotiations were disrupted by the price upward trend. The buyer/seller standoff continues into this week due to inconsistent pricings for polysilicon, slowing down the trade. At present, Tier-1 manufacturers are negotiating prices for new orders, with pricings rising significantly for a few small or urgent orders. Therefore, the high point was revised up to RMB 88/kg or even higher.

The trading price for polysilicon for mono-Si wafers came in at RMB 85-88/kg this week and averaged at RMB 86/kg; the prices are still rising. Overall, polysilicon shortage is worse than anticipated. Q3 experiences the shortest polysilicon supply of the year, with the production volume going down to the lowest level in August and a serious shortage will be felt in September.

Manufacturers are holding inventory as supply of multi-grade polysilicon remains in short. Consequently, multi-Si wafer makers procured less multi-grade polysilicon in early August in response to the high prices. Polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers thus did not increase much this week, with the trading prices coming in at RMB 59-65/kg and averaged at RMB 61/kg.

Foreign polysilicon prices for mono- and multi-Si wafers both increased this week to different extents. Mono-grade polysilicon was priced at USD 10-10.4/kg while multi-grade polysilicon was priced at USD 6.8-7.3/kg. Driven by price increases in Chinese polysilicon prices, polysilicon prices for overseas markets are also on the rise. 
 

Wafer

Mono-Si wafer prices are still rising this week, with the trading prices coming closer to the prices published by Longi on July 31, sitting at RMB 2.84-2.9/piece and RMB 2.94-3.03/piece; USD 0.358-0.365/piece and USD 0.374-0.381/piece for G1 and M6, respectively. In the face of price increases, cell makers can only follow suit, and so the trading prices became clearer comparing with last week.

However, Longi announced price adjustment again on Aug. 12 after it raised prices on July 31, pricing G1 and M6 wafers at RMB 3.1/piece and RMB 3.25/piece respectively; USD 0.39/piece and USD 0.409/piece for overseas markets now. Judging from Longi’ price increase by RMB 0.05/piece after polysilicon prices climbed by RMB 3/kg, mono-Si wafer prices are predicted to adjust in line with polysilicon prices for the short term amid wild movement of polysilicon prices. With mono-grade polysilicon prices continuing to rise and an anticipation of shortage, mono-Si wafer makers set to raise prices,

The increasing polysilicon costs are reflected on multi-Si wafer prices this week, with the trading prices going up to RMB 1.55-1.65/piece and averaged at RMB 1.65/piece. Although India has stable demand for multi-Si products after the market reopened, the recent surge in multi-Si wafer prices and an average price level as high as RMB 1.65/piece place pressure on the major multi-Si market.

Moreover, as the inventories of polysilicon for multi-Si wafers are high recently, multi-Si wafer manufacturers are not willing to raise utilization rates; some even reduced the procurement amount of multi-grade polysilicon or lowered utilization rates. Although multi-Si wafer prices have climbed to a higher level comparing to previous weeks, the polysilicon segment gains the most profits, whereas profits remain flat for multi-Si wafer manufacturers. Following price uptick in the Chinese market, multi-Si wafer prices for overseas markets rose this week, coming in at USD 0.203-0.215/piece and USD 0.209/piece in average.
 

Cell

Cell manufacturers reflected price increases in the upstream segments on their quotes immediately. Tongwei, which announced price adjustment on Aug. 10, raised prices from RMB 0.89/W in July to RMB 0.97/W for both G1 and M6 cells, up by 9%.

Not much new orders were signed during SNEC; bargaining between cell and module manufacturers is still continuing. Many cell manufacturers put inquires for new orders on hold as they are still negotiating large orders, but most of them believe that it’s not likely to raise prices to RMB 0.97/W. At present, they maintain the prices agreed previously for their shipments.

So, the average price for G1 sat at RMB 0.9-0.91/W and RMB 0.92-0.93/W for M6 this week. Selling modules to overseas markets enjoy a price advantage as foreign markets in general can accept higher prices. The Chinese and foreign prices diversified recently, with the average price for G1 rising to USD 0.12/W and USD 0.122/W for M6 in overseas markets.

With wafer prices increasing continuously and Indian demand recovering gradually, multi-Si cell prices rebounded marginally, sitting at RMB 2.6/piece in average. However, multi-Si cell business will suffer even more loss of profits as overall multi-Si demand will continue to weaken and it’s difficult to raise prices for multi-Si cells despite a surge in multi-Si wafer prices.  
 

Module

Quotes for modules rose to RMB 1.6-1.7/W during SNEC. Overseas markets also saw an increase in price quotes by USD 0.01-0.15/W recently. But orders that have been signed earlier did not change much in prices, while PV plants are biding their time for new orders. Moreover, module manufacturers are keen to maintain good customer relationship for securing shipments next year. Therefore, sellers and buyers are not willing to sign orders now. Apart from bid prices for Chinese projects rushing to connect to the grid this year saw a significant increase, not much new orders have been clinched recently.  

In fact, some developers would rather postpone projects for grid-connection than purchasing modules with a price higher than RMB 1.6/W. However, the rising polysilicon, wafer, and cell prices made it difficult for module makers to sell modules at a price lower than RMB 1.6/W. With a mismatch between buyer and seller expectation, demand will certainly be impacted in Q4.