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Updated August 19, 2020

Polysilicon price

This month, most Tier-1 producers of polysilicon for mono-Si wafers have clinched deals, and they are in the midst of executing their contracts. So, there have been only a handful of new and urgent deals on polysilicon for mono-Si wafers being negotiated these days, with prices quoted at an average of RMB 95/kg or above.

On the whole, the market sees a wild variety of polysilicon prices being offered, producers in up-and downstream sectors bargaining over prices, orders being negotiated one by one, and price increases penetrating the entire upstream sector. In the face of the price hikes in polysilicon prices, wafer makers—which still hold polysilicon stocks—are biding their time.

Yongxiang was intitally planning to keep running at full capacity this month. However, the Leshan-based facility was shut down due to a flood threat and recent explosions at the polysilicon lab. With the facility’s annual 20,000 MT older production line being halted for safety reasons, its monthly production volume will be pushed down by around 1,000 tonnes—which adds to the ongoing polysilicon shortage.

Meanwhile, Xinjiang-based polysilicon factories that have completed self-inspection are waiting for the government’s approval to resume operation, and if they do get back up and running before the end of August, they will come close to running at full capacity in September. If this is the case—and non-China polysilicon makers also run at full capacity—then polysilicon shortage will start to ease in October with prices stabilizing. This week, the mainstream polysilicon for mono-Si wafers was traded at RMB 89–92/kg and RMB 90/kg on average, up by 50% from mid-July. 

Polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers have been going up every week since early July due to shrinking production capacity and stable end-market demand for multi products. The prices trended upward this week to RMB 62–67/kg in the market and RMB 64/kg on average. Overseas polysilicon prices increased this week along with their Chinese equivalents, coming in at USD 10.2–10.7/kg for mono-Si wafers and USD 7.2–7.7/kg for multi-Si wafers.

Wafer price

After Longi announced its latest prices for mono-Si wafers on August 12, another Tier-1 maker Zhonghuan Solar did likewise two days later. While the price gap between G1 and M6 formats is RMB 0.22/piece for both producers, Zhonghuan Solar claimed that it did not inflate its prices, considering the growing costs for mid-and downstream sectors following the explosions at polysilicon factories.

Yet, the mainstream trading prices for mono-Si wafers are consistent with Longi’s prices. Indeed, mono-Si wafer prices went up this week to RMB 2.87–3.08/piece for G1 and RMB 3.02–3.23/piece for M6 in China and USD 0.383–0.387/piece for G1 and USD 0.402–0.406/piece for M6 in overseas markets. With polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers expected to keep going up—with greater frequency and extent—until the end of September, mono-Si wafer prices are highly likely to increase.

Having been raised three times, multi-Si wafer prices in China turned stable this week as polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers became relatively stable last week and multi-Si wafer producers recently reduced their utilization rates. So, this week’s multi-Si wafer prices remained almost consistent with their previous levels, coming in at RMB 1.55–1.65/piece in the market and RMB 1.6/piece on average. However, with polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers having resumed their upward trend this week, multi-Si wafer prices are forecast to keep going up until the end of this month. When the prices will start to stabilize depends on how well downstream producers can cover growing costs and how far multi-Si wafer supply will be reduced.

Cell price

As polysilicon prices continue to rise and module producers keep bargaining and procure increasingly fewer cells, cell prices were consistent this week with their previous levels, hovering at RMB 0.9–0.91/W for G1 and RMB 0.91–0.93/W for M6. Overseas cell prices stayed at an average of USD 0.12/W for G1 and USD 0.122/W for M6, as modules shipped overseas fetched higher prices, allowing cell prices in China and overseas markets to diverge.

Tier-2 makers of G1 cells find it difficult to sell their products and are said to lower prices to increase sales. Prices for high and low-priced cells are going down; they even have hit as low as RMB 0.83/W. The price for M6 cells holds ground owing to healthy demand, but it is not going to pick up much because module makers are restricting their procurement of cells in response to increased cell prices.

Multi-Si cell prices averaged RMB 2.6–2.7/piece this week, as polysilicon prices continue to rise, prompting multi-Si wafer makers to reduce their utilization rates and thus making it difficult for cell producers to buy wafers, and cell prices are rising along with wafer prices. With their price performance declining, multi-Si cell shipments to India started declining.

Module price

Price hikes induced by a flurry of polysilicon factory explosions have caused manufacturers in up-and midstream sectors to raise their prices. Consequently, module makers have no choice but to lift their price quotes, and some of them have even stopped offering price quotes, waiting for the price increases in up-and midstream to subside. The trading price for M6 mono-Si modules has recently jumped to RMB 1.55–1.65/W. With module prices having surged, end customers in China and abroad are biding their time. Thus, only a few new module orders have been signed recently, with prices climbing sporadically in overseas markets.

For PV projects in China or abroad that do not necessarily need to connect to the grid this year, they have mostly been postponed for installation until next year, hitting end-market demand in Q4. To deal with growing costs, module makers have stopped using outsourcing services, reduced their utilization rates, and limited their cell procurement.

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