The polysilicon sector continues to see active purchases. For now, the range of mainstream trading prices stays at RMB 210-230/kg. The high-price range gradually declines, while the low-price range is little changed.
Polysilicon buyers give in to maintain steady growths of utilization rates of the ingot segment and wafer production volume. Previously piled-up inventory drops. However, the amount of inventory at hand of each manufacturer varies, with leading manufacturers accounting for an increasingly larger portion of total polysilicon inventory. Overall, polysilicon inventory on the spot market wields ongoing influence on price trends of the entire supply chain.
Demand for polysilicon has reached a short-term target and will continue increasing as the ingot segment raises utilization rates markedly this month. 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 sustain for wafers in every format this week. On the spot market, deliveries and production are not as smooth as manufacturers expected after the Lunar New Year holiday. As of the end of February, wafer supply has yet to see significant increases, but 182mm and 210mm wafer supplies are climbing gradually. The growth will be more evident in mid-March.
In the ingot segment, the impact of crucible supply becomes evident. The decrease in effective production volume of furnaces per unit time slows down the growth of production volume and increases the time it takes for dismantling and installing furnaces. It will not be accurate to assess current production capacity per furnace based on statistics from previous productions. If add more furnaces to production lines to make up for the loss of production capacity, demand for polysilicon will increase.
To date, market information suggests 35-38 GW of effective production volume of mono-Si wafers in March. Increases will be more evident in the second half of the month. Mono-Si wafers will see a steady price trend until supply-demand relationship reverses.
Cell prices extend declines but sustain less decrease. Mainstream trading prices for M10 and G12 cells come in at RMB 1.08-1.09/W. Manufacturers seal most of the new orders at RMB 1.08/W. Some at even lower prices, purportedly. A few previous orders are delivered at RMB 1.1/W.
With wafer supply remaining tight, cell manufacturers initiate negotiations to raise prices. Their efforts are in vain, for end user acceptance is low, raw material prices have yet to rise, and module prices slip for new orders in March.
Cell prices may stay at current levels next week, even losing ground due to module price declines. For G12 cells, manufacturers begin to see some wiggle room for price negotiations, given few suppliers and lower production volume. New orders for G12 cells are sealed at prices RMB 0.01/W higher than those for M10 cells.
N-type cell prices sustain at last week’s level, despite declines in PERC prices. M10 TOPCon cells are priced at RMB 1.18-1.2/W, a premium of RMB 0.09-0.13/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.
Demand picks up this month, compared with last month’s level. Module makers continue delivering new orders in small batches. However, price range keeps widening this week. Prices vary more significantly among module makers. For modules of Tier-1 makers, prices stay on an upward trend. Tier-1 module makers deliver glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W at RMB 1.77-1.78/W, with the high price range reaching beyond RMB 1.8/W, and the low price range coming in at RMB 1.68-1.7/W. Their Tier-2 and Tier-3 counterparts offer lower prices to vie for market shares, delivering at RMB 1.72-1.75/W. Competition in the module sector intensifies. Some module makers offer price quotes RMB 0.05/W lower than the average. Overall, average module prices are about to slip, reaching RMB 1.73-1.75/W.
Supply chain prices keep fluctuating. Module makers anticipate prices to drop, settling into their chairs, and considering putting off projects to the second half of the year. The recovery of Chinese demand seems to be delayed again. Still, some projects will initiate during the latter part of March and April. Module makers have raised utilization rates slightly higher this month. Monthly production plan may return to 34-35 GW.
In overseas markets, module prices slip marginally this week, coming in at USD 0.2-0.225/W (FOB). Module makers hope to seal future orders at prices no lower than USD 0.23/W, which end users find unacceptable.
In Europe, prices come in at USD 0.21-0.225/W as end users slow down deliveries due to previously piled-up inventory. In Australia, prices sit at USD 0.21-0.26/W in recent terms. In the Middle East and Africa, prices remain at USD 0.21-0.22/W this week.
In the U.S., as Tier-1 module makers started exporting modules to the nation, some module makers lower price quotes aggressively to secure market share. As a result, prices slightly decline to USD 0.33-0.37/W for Southeast Asian modules but sustain for U.S.-made ones.
India also saw imports of Chinese modules in the first quarter. Prices come in at USD 0.2-0.22/W for Chinese modules exported to India, and USD 0.27-0.28/W for some imports from Southeast Asia. For modules locally made in India, prices sustain at USD 0.3-0.33/W.
As for n-type modules, prices sustain at RMB 1.96-2/W and USD 0.26-0.27/W for G12 HJT modules; RMB 1.82-1.93/W and USD 0.235-0.24/W for M10 TOPCon modules. In China, some module makers adjust the premium of HJT modules against PERC modules. Meantime, the premium of TOPCon modules against PERC ones will increase, given higher production costs amid wafer and cell shortages.