Polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers were almost consistent this week compared with the previous week, staying at high levels, and traded at RMB 93–96/kg and RMB 94/kg on average. As polysilicon supply is picking up with producers in Xinjiang resuming operation, the supply/demand gap in the polysilicon sector is narrowing, which gives wafer makers greater bargaining power.
Still, bargaining persists over polysilicon deals. A few Tier-1 producers are said to have offered slightly lower price quotes than in the previous week, and polysilicon prices are starting to show signs of decline. However, as wafer producers procured polysilicon when prices rose amid fears of further price hikes. With enough stocks now, they would rather bide their time than place orders.
Polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers remained stable this week, traded at RMB 65–69/kg and RMB 67/kg on average. The prices stayed at high levels due to diminished supply. Meanwhile, multi-grade polysilicon prices will show little change for a short period of time as multi-Si wafer prices have recently become stable.
Polysilicon prices in non-Chinese markets—which were subject to the generally stable polysilicon prices in China, sellers’ obligation to meet delivery deadlines, and deals struck in low numbers due to customer expectations for price decline—hovered at USD 10.2–10.7/kg for mono-Si wafers and USD 7.2–7.7/kg for multi-Si wafers this week.
As the supply of polysilicon for mono-Si wafers continues to grow thanks to some Chinese producers resuming operation, polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers have become increasingly stable. A Tier-1 producer has halted productions in some facilities due to power cut this month, causing the supply of mono-Si wafers to dwindle slightly.
With the supply of polysilicon for mono-Si wafers growing and mono-Si wafer makers less likely to procure polysilicon that sit at a high level now, mono-Si wafer prices remain high this week at RMB 3–3.08/piece for G1 and RMB 3.15–3.23/piece in the market. In non-Chinese markets, the trading prices for mono-Si wafers climbed to USD 0.386–0.392/piece for G1 and USD 0.405–0.411/piece for M6 due to a weaker dollar. While mono-Si cell prices have declined recently, mono-Si wafer makers maintain healthy stock levels. So, mono-Si wafer prices look more likely to remain stable before China celebrates the National Day on October 1.
Multi-Si wafer prices had been rising along with the persistent shortage of polysilicon for multi-Si wafers since early July. But the prices began to stabilize after mono-Si wafer prices and polysilicon prices remained stable. Thus, the trading prices for multi-Si wafers were RMB 1.55–1.65/piece in China and USD 0.203–0.215/piece in non-Chinese markets. Overall, although polysilicon producers have resumed operation since factory explosions, the volume of multi-grade polysilicon produced is invariably low. Meanwhile, because operating multi-Si wafer makers are running at low capacity, multi-Si wafer prices will not show much change in the near future but are subject to how polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers are faring.
Mono-Si cell prices are forecast to stay weak due to downward price pressure from module makers and new production lines coming online. Moreover, some module makers expect to raise utilization rates in mid-September, price decreases in cells will slow on the strength of growing demand.
As prices for G1 cells currently sit a higher level and demand continues to shift to M6, few deals on the G1 cell have recently been struck, making the stock of the cell continue to bulge among Tier-2 and 3 makers. The price for G1 cells will stay at RMB 0.86–0.87/W for a short period of time. The price for M6 cells hovered at RMB 0.92–0.93/W this week thanks to stable demand and it may remain constant until the end of September. However, as new production lines will be totally brought online during October–November, mono-Si cell prices will decrease slowly.
While price drops in mono-Si cells is penetrating beyond China, mono-Si cell prices in non-Chinese markets saw less decrease thanks to a weaker dollar, with the average prices for G1 declining to USD 0.113–0.114/W and M6 prices falling marginally to USD 0.119–0.120/W.
Multi-Si cell prices held up at RMB 2.6–2.65/piece, as multi-Si wafer prices will remain stable without showing any sign of downward trend for a short period of time, thus making it difficult for cell producers to cut prices amid high costs. However, the prices recovered in India by USD 0.01–0.02/W to USD 0.074–0.075/W, because of high multi-Si wafer prices and changes in currency exchange rates.
Most of the new orders to be delivered from Q4 this year to Q1 next year have a quoted price of more than RMB 1.58/W or USD 0.2/W—a significant increase from the pre-explosion level of RMB 1.4–1.45/W or USD 0.185–0.195/W—and a spot price of around USD 0.22/W. Moreover, because some orders for Q4 are postponed for delivery until Q1 or Q2 next year and polysilicon production lines are highly clustered, prices in the upstream segments will stay at high levels unless polysilicon producers resume operation in ways that enable adequate supply.
So, even though some module makers are expected to undertake a modest amount of business between Q4 and early next year, they will continue to take their price quotes seriously. Many orders to be delivered in Q1 next year still stay at above USD 0.2/W and module prices for non-Chinese markets will remain stable from now to Q1 in 2021. Prices in China will depend on the outcomes of the negotiations between developers of utility-scale projects and module makers. Chinese module prices may start to decline in Q4 as demand seems to be somewhat lower than predicted in that quarter.
The increases in module prices across the world have had not much impact on the U.S. market, where modules generate healthy profits. U.S prices for monofacial and bifacial modules will stay at USD 0.32–0.34/W in Q4, but they are going to tumble early next year, when the Section 201 tariffs will be reduced.