As polysilicon prices are still being negotiated, some Tier-1 makers make concessions on their prices due to bulging stocks, whereas a few others stick with high prices.
Meanwhile, polysilicon prices are being sustained by stable demand, considering that Tier-1 mono-Si wafer maker Longi’s prices for November are consistent with those in October and new mono-Si wafer production lines continue to emerge. But as polysilicon makers are going to run at full capacity next month, driving up supply, the trading prices will depend on the negotiation outcomes.
This week, prices for mono-grade polysilicon slipped to RMB 88/kg at the low-price end, with trading prices standing at RMB 88–92/kg, and averaged RMB 90/kg. The prices’ trend will become clear when some Tier-1 makers clinch new deals by the end of next week. Overall, with no shortage of polysilicon, mono-Si wafer makers running at full capacity, and demand expected to remain healthy throughout Q4, prices for mono-grade polysilicon will decline only modestly in the quarter.
Trading prices for multi-grade polysilicon decreased fractionally this week to RMB 58–61/kg and RMB 59/kg on average. The prices are not going to rebound any time soon as end user demand for multi-Si products is shrinking and demand for multi-grade polysilicon remains low.
This week’s polysilicon prices in non-Chinese markets were consistent with their previous levels at USD 10.2–10.7/kg for mono-grade polysilicon and USD 7.2–7.7/kg for multi-grade polysilicon, because few deals were struck and price negotiations had just begun. With mono-Si wafer prices remaining stable, overseas polysilicon producers have received quite a few requests for quote. On the whole, overseas polysilicon prices were easier to negotiate than previous week and they are likely to remain stable in the trading market.
This week, Tier-1 mono-Si wafer Longi announced its November prices, which were consistent with the October levels. The trading prices for mono-Si wafers this week were almost identical with previous levels, staying at RMB 3.03–3.08/piece for G1 and RMB 3.18–3.23/piece for M6. In non-Chinese markets, the prices climbed amid exchange-rate variations—to USD 0.398–0.405/piece for G1 and USD 0.418–0.425/piece for M6.
As an installation rush is going on in Q4 and shortage of electricity and thermal-field materials have forced mono-Si wafer manufacturers to slow down the commissioning of new production lines, mono-Si wafer supply is running a bit low at present. However, if polysilicon prices decline slightly only in Q4, mono-Si wafer prices may be decreasing marginally by the end of this year.
Despite partial production slowdown among some multi-Si wafer makers during China’s National Holiday, multi-Si wafer prices have been declining over the past weeks due to shrinking end user demand and weakening multi-Si cell prices. At present, multi-Si wafer producers are operating on the edge of the break-even point while filling the orders they have received. This week, multi-Si wafers were traded at RMB 1.53–1.6/piece, and averaged RMB 1.57/piece. Multi-Si wafer prices in non-Chinese markets remained consistent with their previous levels, staying at USD 0.203–0.215/piece among the deals clinched.
Signing of new orders for mono-Si cells kicked off this week, although only a few were struck because of lingering negotiations. However, some other deals are expected to be clinched next week. Mono-Si cell prices remained constant this week, but in non-Chinese markets, they slipped amid exchange-rate variations. Looking ahead, M6 cells will see strong demand and stable prices whereas G1 cells, whose supply is decreasing, will see prices decline at a slower pace. Thus, throughout November, mono-Si cells will sustain less price decline.
With demand higher than predicted in Q4, M6 cells are running somewhat low in supply and their price has thus picked up. However, the average price for M6 stayed at RMB 0.93–0.935/W this week, as bargaining persisted with module makers, which are hit by increases in prices for bill of materials. The price climbed to RMB 0.94–0.95/W for mid-and small-sized module producers, which are in a weaker bargaining position. Deals clinched at as high as RMB 0.95/W grew slightly in number.
Demand has been shifting from G1 cells to M6 ones since the second half of this year and inventory draw of G1 cells has slowed down. However, as some producers are going to stop producing such cells from November onward and the price for G1 wafers stays at a high level, price decreases have slowed, with the average prices staying stable at RMB 0.85/W this week.
The average price for multi-Si cells sat at RMB 2.6/piece this week. The price was down to RMB 2.5/piece at the low-priced end due to weak demand. Since multi-Si cell prices will not decline any further, how they will fare depends on price change in the wafer sector. Meanwhile, as multi demand remains weak and multi products generate limited profits, some producers consider shutting down multi-Si cell production lines by the end of this year.
Demand for modules will peak between October and November. Overall demand remains strong although inventory draw from non-Chinese markets is being slowed down by a second wave of the corona outbreak. However, module delivery is hindered amid shortages of PV glass and EVA films. Tier-2 and 3 makers are struggling to procure enough glass and EVA films; some Tier-1 makers have reduced their utilization rates.
The negotiation over the price for PV glass for November is already under way, but many glass producers have yet provided their price quotes. However, the spot price for 3.2-mm coated glass has risen to RMB 41–48/m2, whereas that for 2-mm glass is reportedly jumped to around RMB 35/m2—a staggering increase in just two months from RMB 30/m2 and RMB 24/m2 in September. Moreover, the glass price will continue to climb for the short term amid severe shortage.
While glass prices surged in October, any further increase in module prices is no longer acceptable to the end market—which is why module prices stay constant on the whole. Price increases are seen only among small orders for available modules and urgent orders. Cost pressure due to the ever-increasing glass prices is growing among module makers, sending their profits lower.