Tier-1 manufacturers signed orders successively, as demand recovered at the beginning of August. Most polysilicon manufacturers have seen orders for August settled last week. This week, with low inventory levels, much less of orders for mono-grade polysilicon were signed at prices lower than RMB 200/kg. Sporadic orders were mostly signed at RMB 203-206/kg, compared to last week’s RMB 195-206/kg for bulk orders, driving overall prices up slightly.
Presently, wafer and cell sectors are still negotiating with buyers, hoping to push up prices. However, surging prices in the midstream may affect module utilization rates again. As a result, whether this round of price hike will persist hinges on acceptability of the module sector and the end user market.
On August 11, Zhonghuan released new pricings, with prices for G1, M6, and G12 wafers with a thickness of 170um rising to RMB 4.88/piece, RMB 4.98/piece, and RMB 7.97/piece, entailing 5.6-9.69% of increases on previous levels. As both module prices and end user demand are not picking up, cell and module sectors can hardly accept the higher-than-expected price hike and will need more time for further negotiations. This week, market prices averaged at the same level as trading prices of manufacturers other than Zhonghuan and Longi in recent two weeks. M6 wafers were mostly traded at RMB 4.7-4.74/piece.
In overseas markets, G1 wafers saw steady demand, whereas most wafer manufacturers, one after another, ceased producing them. Given this unbalanced supply-demand relationship, G1 wafers saw more significant price increases in overseas markets than those of other formats.
Multi-Si wafer prices plunged below RMB 1.7/piece amid pessimistic market outlooks. However, as end user demand picked up amid a short window period of punitive tariffs in India, prices rose rapidly, coming in at around RMB 1.9/piece by far. Foreign prices are still fluctuating; some orders were signed at USD 0.27-0.28/piece.
With anticipations for demand to rebound in September, module utilization rates and cell purchase volumes increased in August, compared to levels in July. New cell orders were signed at higher prices, averaging at RMB 1.08-1.09/W for 158.75mm cells, RMB 0.98-0.99/W for 166mm cells, RMB 1-1.02/W for 182mm cells, and RMB 0.98-0.99/W for 210mm cells.
However, leading wafer manufacturer Zhonghuan released new pricings for August today, sending up cell production costs. Cell manufacturers in turn arranged meetings today to modify overall price quotes, which are expected to rise by RMB 0.01-0.03/W. Presently, cost durability of module makers seem limited, with some of them considering lowering production volumes and cell purchase volumes. If cell prices do go up, variables exist for future cell purchase volumes if in-house cell inventories of module manufacturers do not reduce as much as expected, after orders being delivered in the second half of August while in-house production continues.
This week, multi-Si cell prices are expected to rise to RMB 3.25-3.3/piece, owing to multi-Si wafer price hikes, installations driven by the end of Indian safeguard duty at the end of July, and the recovering Indian module utilization rates in August.
Presently, prices of Tier-1 vertically integrated companies saw no significant changes, averaging at last week’s levels. Mainstream prices for 166mm glass-backsheet modules sat mostly at RMB 1.74-1.77/W, whilst glass-backsheet modules with power output exceeding 500 W saw prices stabilized at RMB 1.75-1.8/W.
Some module BOM prices stepped on an upward trend as upstream price hikes returned. Some module makers are planning to revise prices upwardly, which may be rather difficult, given end users’ small cost durability after rounds of price increases from last to this year. Some module makers will only deliver orders partially at the end of this year, extending delivering time to the first quarter of next year.
In overseas markets, module prices remained at current levels for the time being, with prices for G1 modules averaging at USD 0.23/W, prices for M6 modules averaging at USD 0.24-0.245/W, whilst modules with power output exceeding 500W saw prices averaged at USD 0.245-0.25. Prices for some orders fluctuated as per exchange rates.