Another round of price negotiations took place at the end of July. Overall, polysilicon saw some inventories accumulating and prices starting to give in, amid leading wafer manufacturers’ low utilization rates in July. This week, trading prices sat mostly at RMB 197-206/kg, averaging at around RMB 203/kg. Orders signed at prices below RMB 200/kg increased.
As prices slipped, the market, which was previously in a wait and see mode, began signing orders, despite low utilization rates of Tier-1 wafer manufacturers. Negotiations for bulk orders have been expected this and next week, with prices likely to stay on slow declines in the first half of August, along with the signing of long-term orders. The decline in August will not be significant, as some manufacturers have equipment maintenance scheduled then, and as the market is expected to rebound in September.
This week, prices for mono-Si wafers in the Chinese market stayed at last week’s level, as pricings on the website of leading wafer maker Longi remained unchanged at the end of July.
Prices for M6 wafers with a thickness of 170um came in at RMB 4.54/piece. M10 wafers, on the other hand, saw mainstream prices sitting at RMB 5.7-5.8/piece, as wafer manufacturers revised down prices marginally, despite Longi’s consistent pricing. Prices for G12 wafers remained stable this week.
Multi-Si wafers previously saw prices plunge to below RMB 1.7/piece amid pessimistic views across the market. However, as end user demand slightly recovered, prices started picking up this week. Orders are expected to be signed at prices approaching RMB 1.8/piece this and next week. Foreign prices were slightly higher than prices in RMB, and thus stayed at previous levels for the time being.
Cell manufactures saw reviving procuring volumes from the module sector, as polysilicon prices leveled out and new orders for August were negotiated at the end of the month.
This week, mono-Si cell prices remained at last week’s level. Prices for 166mm cells with mainstream efficiency averaged at RMB 0.96-0.98/W, whilst 182mm and 210mm cells saw average prices stabilizing at RMB 0.98-0.99/W.
As demand is recovering in Q3, cell manufacturers were poised to raise prices, with some of them being expected to revise price quotes upwardly by RMB 0.01-0.02/W. Most manufacturers for 166mm products switched to produce 182mm and 210mm products, as a result, supply of 166mm products may be slightly short, given fair volume of demand. The price trend will be steady, as cell manufacturers are estimated to provide sufficient 166mm products every month by far.
Prices for 182mm and 210mm products were subject to wafer price trends, since the two were mostly purchased by vertically integrated companies, and because cell manufacturers, being caught between wafer and module sectors, had small say in negotiations. Overall price trend hinge on negotiations next week.
This week, as manufacturers were fulfiling previous orders, multi-Si cell prices temporarily stabilized at RMB 3.15-3.2/piece. However, with multi-grade polysilicon prices hikes, installations driven by the end of Indian safeguard duty at the end of July, and the recovering Indian module utilization rates in August, prices are expected to rise above RMB 3.3/piece.
Presently, vertically integrated companies have not seen significant changes in prices, with prices for 166mm glass-backsheet modules mostly sitting at RMB 1.73-1.77/W. As tenders in China gradually switched to deploy modules rated beyond 500 W, inventories of 166mm modules continue piling up, with Tier-2 makers seeing RMB 1.68-1.7/W of spot prices in the low-price range. 166mm modules are expected to see faster price declines than large format ones.
Modules with a power output exceeding 500 W saw stable prices, with prices for Tier-1 manufacturers’ glass-backsheet modules mostly sitting at RMB 1.77-1.8/W. Price differences among manufacturers enlarged. Some Tier-2 manufacturers offered biddings aggressively, with modules with a power output exceeding 500 W being priced at RMB 1.7-1.75/W.
In overseas markets, modules saw no changes in prices, with only some orders being slightly affected by exchange rates. In the U.S., prices came in at RMB 0.33-0.36/W after tax. From next week onward, as Indian safeguard duty ends at the end of July, prices will be displayed in FOB price quote with tax excluded.