The polysilicon sector is little changed this week. February orders are mostly in transit. Mainstream mono-grade polysilicon prices remain at RMB 230/kg. On the spot market, the high-price range keeps stepping down. Buyers and sellers, with varied target prices in mind, initiate negations for March orders. One of the two parties must give in to reach a consensus in the short term.
The ingot segment raises utilization rates markedly this month, pushing up its demand for polysilicon to reach a short-term target level. In March, polysilicon demand may continue increasing. Given supply on the spot market and current inventory level, there is sufficient polysilicon for wafer production. In the second quarter, the manufacturers may focus on providing enough fine polysilicon to produce high-quality wafers.
Prices stay at last week’s level for wafers in every format.
On the spot market, wafer supply has yet to see significant increases. Still, both 182mm and 210mm wafer supplies are climbing gradually. The growth will be more evident in mid-March.
It takes more time for wafer production volume to rise since ingot manufacturing process is lengthier. Doubled with currently huge gap between the high and low points of polysilicon prices, the ingot segment’s inelastic polysilicon demand and concerns about polysilicon price trend push upstream negotiations into deadlock. Wafer prices are not likely to drop in the short term. However, in the cell sector, inventory starts piling up, and prices drop, threatening wafer prices to follow suit.
As of this month, n-type wafer production volume and supply on the spot market are little changed, with major manufacturers remaining the primary contributors. However, production capacity of n-type cells will rise faster in the second quarter, affecting demand for n-type wafers remarkably.
Cell prices extend declines this week. As inventory starts piling up in the cell sector, module makers, still having cells previously bought on hand, appear cautious towards future purchases.
This week, cell manufacturers seal new orders at RMB 1.1-1.11/W for both M10 and G12 cells. A few previous orders are delivered at RMB 1.13/W.
Based on orders sealed this week, prices lower than RMB 1.1/W are rare. Future price trend will be rather steady, hinging on negotiations in the upstream. Further declines are likely.
This month, due to n-type wafer shortage and rising costs of silver paste, the premium of n-type cells against p-type peers widens, affecting deliveries. M10 TOPCon cells are priced at RMB 1.19-1.2/W, a premium of RMB 0.08-0.1/W. For G12 HJT cells, there isn’t a new price range, pricings remain at RMB 1.3-1.6/W, due to low order volume this week.
Module makers continue delivering orders, both previous and new ones. Overall, delivering prices rise marginally this week, coming in at RMB 1.65-1.87/W for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W. Average prices sustain at RMB 1.75-1.77/W of last week’s level. The high-price range climbs slightly to RMB 1.82-1.87/W.
New orders are few at the end of the month. Module makers are mostly delivering previous orders. Demand in China may pick up during March and April. In the upstream, prices are on the verge of declining this week. Future price trend hinges on further negotiation results. As fluctuations continue, and with limited acceptance for price quotes above RMB 1.8/W, some developers announce that they will not seal new orders until later, settling into their chairs to await the results of negotiations. Competition among module makers heats up, with some of them offering price quotes RMB 0.05/W lower than the average.
In overseas markets, module prices sustain at USD 0.2-0.23/W (FOB) for ground-mounted projects. Module makers, hoping to seal future orders at USD 0.22-0.23/W, have raised prices to USD 0.23/W for small-volume orders. However, deliveries are few as overseas demand has yet to pick up completely. Europe slows down deliveries due to previously piled-up inventory. Prices recently sit at USD 0.23-0.26/W in Australia and sustain at USD 0.21-0.22/W in the Middle East and Africa this week.
As for n-type modules, prices sustain at RMB 2-2.075/W and USD 0.26-0.275/W for G12 HJT modules; RMB 1.85-1.95/W and USD 0.235-0.24/W for M10 TOPCon modules.