Polysilicon production capacity has been growing since the beginning of the year, with actual production volume duly increasing. In May, production volumes of some leading polysilicon manufacturers drop, owing to partial line inspections or line mergences for new production capacity that affect power supply. Still, this month is expected to see 65,000-66,000 MT of monthly production volume, a 4-6% increase on April’s level, thanks to new capacities that came online earlier this year.
Returning from the Labor Day holiday, the market sees upstream shortages show no sign of easing. Polysilicon supply remains tight. Trading prices for mono-grade polysilicon advance further, coming in at RMB 252-257/kg, whilst that of recycled polysilicon scrap sits slightly higher. Overall, prices in the polysilicon sector stand above RMB 250/kg.
Production volume has increased 16% this month, compared with levels in January. Still, prices rise on stronger end user demand and disproportionate supply-demand relationship caused by exceedingly fast capacity expansion of ingot facilities. But with narrowing room for further increases.
Differences between prices for polysilicon in China and overseas are set to enlarge, thanks to the latter’s characteristics, advantages, and seemingly rare production capacity increases in recent terms.
As of this week, mainstream prices for mono-Si wafers plateau. Leading manufacturers offer price quotes slightly higher than Tier-2 players. With weakening rising momentum, prices will sustain till the end of the month.
Faced with persistent polysilicon price hikes that push up silicon costs and in the pursuit of profits, mono-Si wafer manufacturers ramp up the development of thinner wafers. Presently, only leading manufacturers stick to 165μm of thickness, while most of the rest switch to 155-160μm. A few manufacturers in the downstream have completed the transition to 155μm. Some professional mono-Si wafer manufacturers manage to follow suit, hoping to sustain prices and secure profits.
Mono-Si wafer supply will increase in June, facing challenges as to demand from the cell sector. Mid-stream sectors will see subtle changes when wafer inventory of cell manufacturers recovers to a healthy level.
*Note: Impacts dramatical fluctuations in the USD/RMB exchange rates have on mono-Si wafer prices take time to emerge, while downstream sectors have responded immediately.
Cell price hikes come to a halt this week. Recently, module makers keep winding down purchases and narrowing acceptance, refraining the cell sector from raising prices, leading to inventory build-up. Some cell manufacturers even offer slightly lower price quotes.
Mainstream prices sustain this week. M6 cells see prices gain marginally, for supply decline as wafer manufacturers gradually upgrade production lines. For now, M6, M10, and G12 cells are traded at RMB 1.1-1.15/W, RMB 1.17-1.19/W, and RMB 1.15-1.17/W, receptively. Prices for multi-Si cells continue to advance on rising production costs, coming in at RMB 4.2-4.5/piece, and USD 0.79-0.82/piece in overseas markets.
Sellers and buyers will remain in standoffs in the short term. Subject to limited acceptance of module makers, cell prices can hardly see evident increases. In the meantime, overseas markets see slightly higher order volume, as they have bigger bargaining chips, thanks to elevated prices in China and advantage in exchange rates.
Price trends vary across sectors. Upstream sectors push up module production costs. Module prices rise accordingly in May, with some end users start accepting RMB 1.9/W of prices. Recent tender projects see module makers offering price quotes as high as RMB 1.95-2.05/W. Actual trading prices hinge on negotiations in the second half of the month. Next week, new orders may be sealed at prices beyond RMB 1.94-1.95/W.
In mid-May, new orders are delivered at RMB 1.9-1.93/W for centralized projects, and RMB 1.93-1.95/W for distributed ones, with RMB 0.02-0.04/W of differences between glass-glass modules rated beyond 500 W and their glass-backsheet counterparts. As for the low-price range, centralized and distributed projects see some previous orders being delivered at RMB 1.88-1.9/W and RMB 1.92-1.93/W, respectively.
In overseas markets, prices stabilize for the time being, with small fluctuations in accordance with the dollar. Still, the Asia-Pacific region seals some orders for the second and third quarter at USD 0.265-0.27/W (FOB).
In Europe, prices continue rising on robust demand and fluctuating exchange rates. For now, prices for glass-backsheet module rated beyond 500 W sit at USD 0.27-0.28/W, reaching beyond USD 0.28-0.30/W on the spot market. Residential projects see prices coming in at USD 0.285-0.315/W. Prices for modules with black backsheet stand at USD 0.295-0.35/W.
Under pressure from production costs, India sees the high-price range for mono-Si modules advance further, coming in at USD 0.35-0.37 this week, with rising momentum persisting next week.
N-type cell and module
Prices see no evident changes as the market has yet to see many price quotes for n-type products. Prices for M6 HJT cells sit at around RMB 1.28-1.35/W.
M10 and G12 TOPCon cells have not seen much trading by far, with prices coming in at RMB 1.2-1.25/W for the time being.
Module prices slightly rise on higher production costs, coming in at RMB 2.1-2.15/W for M6 HJT modules, and USD 0.28-0.33 in overseas markets.
M10 and G12 TOPCon module prices stay where they were last week, at RMB 1.95-2.05/W, and USD 0.28-0.3 in overseas markets.