The polysilicon sector continues to see active purchases. However, prices lose ground. After sealing the latest round of orders, manufacturers see the average price drop to RMB 224/kg, a 2.6% year-on-year decrease. Tier-2 and Tier-3 manufacturers start taking orders at prices lower than RMB 200/kg. With Tier-1 manufacturers enclosing orders of greater volumes, price gaps widen between their orders and those of Tier-2 and Tier-3 manufacturers.
The ingot segment raises utilization rates steadily, consolidating the inelastic demand for polysilicon. Still, well-stocked inventory on the spot market affects price trends across the supply chain. Buyers place orders and arrange deliveries cautiously, in anticipation of price declines. On the spot market, prices drop as polysilicon manufacturers vie for the limited number of sales channels.
Mono-Si wafer prices go on temporary rallies. On March 3, Longi raised prices for 182mm wafers with 150μm of thickness by 4% to RMB 6.5/piece. On March 6, Zhonghuan published its latest pricings, which remain at RMB 6.22/piece for 180mm-150μm wafers, and RMB 8.2/piece for 210mm-150μm ones.
As of this Wednesday, prices are mixed as some Tier-2 manufacturers follow suit, while some sit on the fence but do not rule out possibilities of future price hikes. InfoLink keeps a close watch on wafer price trend and provides truthful reports.
Delivery and production are not as smooth as manufacturers expected after the Lunar New Year holiday. Doubled with leading manufacturers’ higher self-sufficient ratio of leading manufacturers, external sales volume decreases, and the number of wafers available on the spot market increases slowly. Meanwhile, the cell sector operates at full capacity, resulting in growing wafer demand. A short-term supply-demand imbalance is in the making.
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.
As wafer manufacturers appear divided on pricing strategies this week, cell manufacturers adjust price quotes accordingly, raising price quotes on Login’s price hikes, then lowering price quotes on Zhonghuan’s announcement. Cell manufacturers heed wafer price trend closely, manifesting their attempt to test the acceptance of module makers, thus shifting pressures of rising production costs.
More and more module makers opt for G12, but G12 cell supply has yet to increase. As a result, M10 and G12 cell prices diverge this week, coming in at RMB 1.07-1.09/W for the former, and RMB 1.1/W for the latter. In overseas markets, prices sit RMB 0.03-0.04/W higher for both formats.
As of this Wednesday, cell price quotes rise to RMB 1.12-1.13/W as some wafer manufacturers raise pricings. Still, the increase in cell prices will lose further momentum, given module makers’ low acceptance. Meantime, inventory is piling up in the cell sector, but wafer production volume has yet to show any sign of picking up. Provided wafer prices advance further, cell manufacturers may be forced to cut production.
For n-type cells, prices stay elevated, sitting at RMB 1.18-1.22/W for M10 TOPCon cells, with a premium of RMB 0.1-0.13/W against p-type cells. 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 will pick up in March from a month earlier. Module makers are expected to plan for more production. Still, price swings across the supply chain cast uncertainty over several projects. As a result, module makers deliver fewer orders this week. Price range widens. For glass-back sheet modules rated beyond 500 W, prices drop back to RMB 1.73-1.75/W, whilst the low-price range dips to RMB 1.65-1.68/W. Re-negotiations for previous orders are underway.
In overseas markets, module prices stabilize 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 sustaining at USD 0.21-0.225/W as demand shows signs of recovering this month. 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 1.8-1.93/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. N-type module makers are under greater cost pressure, given wafer and cell shortages.