Upstream sectors get more quotation requests and sign more orders this week, with relatively intensified negotiations. Demand from ingot production sustains. The market continues to expect the ingot segment to raise utilization rates.
Price quotes for polysilicon marginally increased. Recently, the market saw trading prices astoundingly hit RMB 249/kg. But this does not indicate overall market trends, as order volume at such a price should be small. This week, trading prices continue rising, coming in at RMB 240-244/kg. Average prices climbed to around RMB 242/kg.
Actual polysilicon supply grows at a moderate pace, owing to production cycle of the chemical industry and the time new production capacities take to come online, increasing production momentum and effective outputs.
Supply volume marginally increases in February on levels in the preceding month. The growth is expected to continue in March. However, additions in the first quarter this year are still insufficient, compared to rising demand from the ingot segment. Polysilicon prices are more likely to stay elevated, as utilization rates of the ingot segment rise, intensifying the conundrum of imbalanced supply-demand relationship in the polysilicon sector.
During the peak season, on February 22, leading wafer manufacturer Longi announced RMB 0.1-0.12/piece of increase on pricings for mono-Si wafers, with its Tier-2 peers following suit on the next day. Pricings for 182mm mono-Si wafers with a thickness of 165um were raised to RMB 6.5/piece, and RMB 5.45/piece for the 166mm/165um format.
Prices vary for the 210mm/160um format, as more manufacturers are producing them. Overall, there is a rising momentum, with low-price range marginally advancing to RMB 8.42-8.45/piece, and high-price range coming in at RMB 8.65/piece. The decision of Zhonghuan, another wafer supermajor, is to be heeded.
The growth in utilization rates of ingot facilities this month is expected to continue in March but with limited space for further increases. End users remain reserved, with demand fluctuating. Periodic price increases in the upstream and the acceptance of the downstream require further observation.
Cell manufacturers are mostly delivering previous orders this week. Average trading prices for M6, M10, and G12 cells come in at RMB 1.07-1.11/W, RMB 1.1-1.14/W, and RMB 1.1-1.145/W, respectively.
Negotiations for pricings in March are about to kick off, as wafer prices step on another upward trend.
Cell manufacturers expect to raise pricings by RMB 0.01-0.03/W. However, it will not be an easy task for cell prices to rise, as subject to acceptance of the module sector.
Given the expectation for module makers to bring down production volumes, cell utilization rates may drop in March and April.
Due to slimmer demand, multi-Si cell prices sustain at RMB 3.75-3.9/piece this week, and USD 0.53-0.55/piece in overseas markets.
Module prices remain pretty much the same last week. Module makers have been devising pricing strategies, but prices have yet to see marked increases, as subject to end user acceptance.
Mainstream prices for modules rated beyond 500 W stay at RMB 1.85-1.88/W. For some distributed projects, prices breached the RMB 1.9/W threshold, standing on RMB 1.9-1.93/W (shipping rates and taxes included).
The module sector remains in standoffs with end users for now. Some module makers wind down raw material purchases, whilst others plan to lower utilization rates from the second half of February to March. Factoring in rising prices, end users appear increasingly reserved in the face of obscured outlook for order volumes in March and may put off inventory draws.
Prices temporarily stabilized in overseas markets. In Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W are delivered at USD 0.265-0.275/W this month. Prices in the U.S. stabilize., sitting at USD 0.32-0.35/W (FOB), and may rise in some European distribution markets.