Upstream sectors bustle with price inquiries and trading volumes this week. Wafer manufacturers make purchases proactively to increase ingot utilization rates.
Price quotes for polysilicon saw mild increases, advancing towards RMB 244-247/kg or even higher. Trading prices slightly increased, averaging at around RMB 240/kg.
Polysilicon supply increases marginally in February on levels in the preceding month, but actual supply volume will grow at a moderate pace. Presently, polysilicon supply added in the first quarter this year is still insufficient, as compared to rising demand from the ingot segment. Manufacturers started negotiating and signing polysilicon orders for March. Bargaining will intensify next week.
Order volumes look fair in the wafer sector. Due to complicated reasons, major manufacturers are faced with various difficulties when delivering, such as reaching consensus on lead time with buyers. The increase of mono-Si wafer supply isn’t really felt amid concentrated downstream demand, despite rising utilization rates of ingot facilities in February.
Average prices go up by around 0.6%, sitting at RMB 6.39/piece for 182mm mono-Si wafers with a thickness of 165um, and RMB 5.31/piece for the 166mm/165μm format. The 210mm/160μm format sees average prices sustain temporarily at RMB 8.45/piece, with low-price range climbing marginally to RMB 8.37/piece, as more suppliers emerge.
Largely owing to concentrated demand for mono-Si wafers, pricings of Tier-2 manufacturers edge towards that Zhonghuan issued on January 26, meaning that fewer wafers are accessible at a price range lower than pricings Longi announced on January 27.
As upstream prices stay on a slow upward trend this week, trading prices for M6, M10, and G12 cells sustain pretty much where they were last week, averaging at RMB 1.07-1.1/W, RMB 1.1-1.13/W, and RMB 1.1-1.14/W, respectively. Average prices rise marginally to RMB 1.09/W, RMB 1.12/W, and RMB 1.12 this week.
In overseas markets, prices slightly pick up as sales gains in markets such as South Korea and India. To date, prices for M10 cells come in at USD 0.158-0.16/W. Steady cell order volumes underpin that of wafers. As a result, wafer prices are not likely to see significant declines shortly. Cell price trend will be flat in recent terms. Overseas markets enjoy premiums, thanks to robust demand.
Multi-Si cell prices stand at RMB 3.75-3.9/piece and USD 0.53-0.55/piece in overseas markets as wafer prices gain, with continual rising momentum.
Module makers start devising pricing strategies this week, expectedly raising module prices by RMB 0.02/W in China, and USD 0.002-01.004/W overseas. However, prices have yet to see marked increases, as subject to end user acceptance. Only some distributed projects saw prices coming in at RMB 1.9-1.92/W (freight rates and tax included).
For now, the module sector and end users remain in standoffs. Some module makers wind down raw material purchases, whilst others plan to lower utilization rates from the second half of February to March. End users appear increasingly reserved, in the face of obscured outlook for order volumes in March and rising prices.
In China, Tier-1 makers mostly delivered 166mm glass-backsheet mono-Si modules at RMB 1.8-1.9/W, and glass-backsheet mono-Si modules rated beyond 500 W at RMB 1.8-1.92/W. 166mm products saw market share shrinking, with manufacturers intent on modifying production capacity in the first half of the year. The decreased production volume drove prices for 166mm modules to approach that of 182mm ones.
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/W for January by far.