The Lunar New Year looms. Upstream sectors experienced upheavals; polysilicon prices ceased dropping and markedly rebounded.
Mainstream prices for mono-grade polysilicon returned to RMB 230-234/kg. Manufacturers offered price quotes for the Lunar New Year holidays and the first half of February higher than the current price level, with some coming in above RMB 240/kg. For now, the indistinctive downward trend for polysilicon prices that lasted for a month has once again vanished. It will be less and less likely for polysilicon prices to drop in recent terms, at least in the first quarter this year.
The world is estimated to have 55,000-57,000 MT of monthly polysilicon production output. The figure will increase monthly, but not significantly. Despite fair amount of backlogs, polysilicon supply seems tight in face of growing production capacity and rising utilization rates in downstream sectors.
As Tier-1 and Tier-2 wafer manufacturers raised spot prices successively, mainstream trading prices for 182mm mono-Si wafers with a thickness of 165um were pushed up to RMB 6.1-6.16/piece, the 210mm/160um format to RMB 8.1/piece, and the 166mm/165um format to RMB 5.15-5.2/piece. Overall, all formats saw prices rising. Some manufacturers even offered price quotes beyond RMB 6.2/piece for the 182mm, 165um-thick wafers. Whether downstream sectors will accept such a price level remains to be heeded.
Mono-Si wafer inventory depleted faster, but sufficient supply has yet to restore since actual production capacity takes time to come online, and the earthquake striking Qinghai affected ingot facilities to various extents. The cell sector’s demand for wafers rallies. Doubled with stockpiling activities before the Lunar New Year and the pandemic-induced logistic issues in Northern China, the industry will experience a short period of imbalanced supply-demand relationship.
Cell manufacturers raised price quotes for M6, M10, and G12 cells by RMB 0.02-0.04/W, to RMB 1.08-1.09/W, RMB 1.1-1.11/W, and RMB 1.1/W, respectively, in response to price hikes from leading wafer manufacturers.
Trading prices mounted accordingly this week, surging to RMB 1.07-1.08/W for M6 cells, whilst M10 cells were delivered at RMB 1.08-1.1/W. G12 cells made from 160um and 170um wafers each saw trading prices going up to RMB 1.06/W and RMB 1.08/W. Still, significant increases in cell prices are not likely before the Lunar New Year, as module makers wind down purchases.
In response to wafer price hikes, prices for multi-Si cells stepped upwardly to RMB 3.55-3.7/piece, USD 0.49-0.52/piece, and saw continual rising momentum in the future.
Module prices have not seen much change despite upstream price hikes, given module demand and end user acceptability. For now, delivering prices mostly sustained at where they were for previous orders. Chinese Tier-1 module makers delivered at previous prices, with only few of them expecting spot prices to rise by around RMB 0.02-0.03/W. Prices came in at RMB 1.8-1.85/W for 166mm glass-backsheet modules, and RMB 1.88-1.9/W for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W. Low-price range mildly adjusted, with Tier-2 makers delivering 166mm glass-backsheet modules and glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W at RMB 1.81-1.83/W and RMB 1.83-1.85/W, respectively.
Prices stabilized in overseas markets. European and Indian demand increased for the first quarter. Prices for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W came in at USD 0.27-0.275 for January by far. Orders are expected to be signed at slightly lower prices of USD 0.26-0.27/W in February and March.