Polysilicon order volumes appear stable, whilst demand from the ingot segment keeps increasing.
Trading prices for polysilicon continue to rise marginally. Mainstream trading prices come in at RMB 241-246/kg. Some sporadic orders were sealed higher than RMB 250/kg. In overseas markets, prices for recycled polysilicon scrap inched as well.
Polysilicon manufacturers scheduled line inspections and modifications in recent terms, affecting monthly production output to various degrees. New production capacities commissioned come online at different paces, with those added earlier being expected to come fully online by the second quarter. Overall, polysilicon supply remains stable in March, seeing small increases and limited growths.
Supply volumes added in the first quarter fail to catch up with rising demand from the ingot segment, which is set to raise utilization rates, intensifying the conundrum of imbalanced supply-demand relationship in the polysilicon sector, underpinning the upward trend of polysilicon prices.
Wafer prices keep rising, more frequently and dramatically, with updates coming out nearly every week.
Tier-1 wafer magnates, Longi and Zhonghuan, raised wafer pricings respectively on March 4 and March 7, placing prices for 210mm wafers with a thickness of 160μm at RMB 8.85/piece, RMB 6.7/piece for the 182mm/165μm format. The 166mm/165μm format, with less of which circulating on the market, sees a wider price range, as production schedules and pricing strategies vary among manufacturers.
For now, prices come in mostly at RMB 5.45-5.55/piece. Demand and market share of the 166mm/165um format will sustain this year, but with faster declines.
The frequent upward revisions in mono-Si wafer prices have very much to do with previous raw material price hikes and concentrated wafer demand from the cell sector.
Severe pandemic in northern China and stricter regulations disrupt logistics and personnel transportation, posing direct impacts on production and supply capacity in the region.
Faced with obstinately high raw material costs, the wafer sector accelerates the minimization of wafer thickness.
As of the first quarter this year, 182mm wafers advance towards 160μm of thickness; some manufacturers even venture for 155μm of thickness. Meanwhile, 210mm wafers have transitioned from 160μm to 155μm of thickness.
Pricings for March are still in negotiations this week.
Cell manufacturers hope to place pricings RMB 0.02-0.03/W higher, in response to higher production costs. As of this Wednesday, average trading prices for M6, M10, and G12 cells came in at RMB 1.09-1.11/W, RMB 1.12-1.15/W, and RMB 1.13-1.15/W, whilst mainstream prices averaged at RMB 1.09-1.10/W, RMB 1.14/W, and RMB 1.14/W, respectively. Only new orders for M10 cells see prices rise. Price increases for M6 and G12 cells are not widely accepted by module makers.
For now, utilization rates increase on levels in the preceding month. Vertically integrated manufacturers keep 75-80%utilization of rates, and professional cell makers 70-75%. Subject to acceptance of the module sector, cell inventory may build up 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.
The module sector is still caught between end user acceptance and supply chain price hikes this week. Price quotes for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W sustain above RMB 1.9/W, at which few orders are signed. Therefore, prices see no evident increase. Mainstream prices for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W linger at RMB 1.85-1.88/W and stand on RMB 1.89-1.95/W for some distributed projects, whilst their glass-glass counterparts see RMB 0.02-0.04/W of price differences.
Prices temporarily stabilized in overseas markets.
In Europe, glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W are delivered at USD 0.275-0.28/W this month. As the euro weakens, prices hit a record high and may upset demand in April if advancing further.
Prices in the U.S. stabilize, sitting at USD 0.32-0.35/W (FOB), but with end users appearing more reserved, considering policy uncertainties.
The Asia-Pacific region sees module prices slip, sitting at USD 0.255-0.27/W for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W, for demand drops as Indian inventory draws came to an end.
Australia sees module prices staying at USD0.275-0.29/W, with potential upward momentum in April, owing to supply chain price hikes.