Spot price will not be posted on January 25 due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Chinese manufacturing sectors are stockpiling and arranging workforce as the Lunar New Year holiday. Having been reining in purchases, polysilicon buyers now have fewer backlogs in hand, suggesting another round of inelastic demand.
Polysilicon order signing activities recover in the first half of January. Price range keeps expanding, with the low-price range coming in at RMB 120-130/kg on the spot market. Some bulk buyers seize the chance and seal orders, depleting inventories of several Tier-1 polysilicon manufacturers.
Upstream sectors have been experiencing rapid changes since December 2022. As a result, wafer prices plunge. Manufacturers’ strategies vary. This week, most polysilicon manufacturers keep price quotes at RMB 150/kg. Price negotiations remain unusually intense before the Lunar New Year holiday.
For now, the timing and market disturbances constitute an intricate trading landscape. After the holiday, outlook for end user demand will be clear, allowing better judgments and decision-making.
Wafer supply plummets as manufacturers cut utilization rates markedly. While it takes time to bring production capacity back online, wafer demand for stockpiling and production increases before the Lunar New Year holiday, giving rise to a short-term excess demand between midstream sectors. As a result, prices surge for both 182mm and 210mm wafers on the spot market.
The latter part of last week saw prices rise to RMB 3.9/piece for 182mm wafers with a thickness of 150μm, and RMB 5-5.1/piece for 210mm/150μm ones. To date, the figures have advanced to RMB 4.4-4.45/piece and RMB 5.7-5.8/piece. Given their wafer demand for the purpose of stockpiling and production, downstream sectors have no choice but to accept the increased prices.
As of this Wednesday afternoon, some Tier-1 manufacturers are still raising prices, updating price quotes to RMB 4.8/piece and RMB 6.2/piece, pressuring the cell sector, which has been struggling to purchase wafers as supply runs short.
The choppy wafer price trend has direct impacts on polysilicon and cell prices. End user acceptance is to be heeded when all sectors stabilize after the holiday.
Price quotes for cells rise in accordance with wafer price hikes this week. Trading prices increase on a daily basis. Cell manufacturers take a hard line on raising prices for existing orders, leaving little leeway for module makers.
Module makers remain in a holding pattern ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. For now, prices are mixed. Future price trend is still up in the air. Having yet to accept new quotes, module makers seal no order as of this Wednesday. Mainstream trading prices stay at RMB 0.85/W for M10 and G12 cells.
Still, a few module makers have given verbal consent. As their orders materialize, the market will see more cells being traded at RMB 0.9-0.92/W.
Wafer and cell price hikes are the deciding factors for price negotiations between up and midstream sectors. If cell prices keep going up, pushing up price level of the base period for future declines, some module makers may adjust production output amid cautious market sentiment.
Module makers start finishing off deliveries as the holiday looms. The market sees no new orders this week. Module prices will not decline significantly until the holiday ends.
This week, orders are delivered at RMB 1.7-1.88/W. Module makers suspend price negotiations to wait until supply chain prices stabilize after the holiday ends, given recent turbulence in upstream sectors, including wafer price rallies and the ensuing increases in cell prices, which some module makers expect to return to the previous level of RMB 1/W.
There will be stronger inventory draws in February. Prices for new orders in February and March are still subject to change. Some module makers mull raising price quotes for new orders to RMB 1.65-1.7/W.
Overseas markets are little changed in recent terms. Prices stabilize at USD 0.22-0.26/W in Europe while dropping marginally to USD 0.21/W in the Asia-Pacific region. Overall, prices fluctuate at USD 0.21-0.23/W. Some Tier-1 module makers deliver previous orders to the U.S. successfully, which takes around one and a half to two months. In the U.S., prices will sustain at USD 0.43-0.45/W (DDP) in the first quarter of this year.
N-type cell and module
PERC cell prices pick up, while low demand this month pressures n-type cell prices. For G12 HJT cells, there isn’t a new price range due to low order volume this week. Some M10 TOPCon cell makers opt for selling p-type and n-type cells at the same price of RMB 0.85-0.95/W.
Module prices are little changed in January amid low demand. G12 HJT modules see no new quote, with prices sustaining at RMB 2-2.2/W in China and USD 0.275-0.28/W in overseas markets. For M10 TOPCon modules, prices come in at RMB 1.89-1.93/W and USD 0.24-0.25/W.