In mid-September, the supply-demand mismatch between the polysilicon sector and the ingot segment persists, with supply showing no improvement as of this week. Some manufacturers with output shortfalls posted worse contract performance for orders previously signed.
Prices for new orders stay on a slow upward trend, reaching RMB 78-89/kg (Tier-2 manufacturers included), given the slowly increasing supply and assorted contract performance among manufacturers. Manufacturers sealed orders for September, with some signing contracts covering the first half of October.
The supply-demand mismatch and price hikes in the upstream juxtapose with downstream price drops. After taking a downward turn last week, cell prices keep dipping this week upon pressures, which will gradually ripple to upstream sectors. Still, supply-demand relationship is not likely to balance in September.
As 210mm wafer prices slipped last week, cell manufacturers resume purchasing after consuming wafer stocks. Wafer trading prices stabilize.
Mainstream trading prices stay at last week’s level, coming in at RMB 3.33-3.35/piece for p-type M10 wafers and RMB 4.25/piece for G12 ones. For n-type wafers, prices sit at RMB 3.45-3.47/piece and RMB 4.47/piece for M10 and G12 wafers, respectively.
With steady and balanced supply and demand, wafer prices will not experience significant fluctuations next week. Nevertheless, further price trend is still up in the air, given upstream price hikes affecting wafer profits, pressures from downstream sectors, and an oversupply of wafers in the future.
Seeing that the acceptance of Tier-2 and Tier-3 module makers has reached the limit, trading prices for cells, recently high, start to descend as negotiated. Most products with low prices are from Tier-2 and Tier-3 manufacturers. Doubled with inventory accumulation of low-efficiency cells and those of early production, prices for special specs drop faster.
Trading prices for p-type M10 cells decline by 1-3% to RMB 0.72/W this week, with the low-price range purportedly reaching RMB 0.7-0.71/W. For G12 ones, prices sustain due to fewer suppliers and smaller production capacity, sitting at RMB 0.73/W.
For n-type cells, M10 TOPCon cell prices fall to RMB 0.78-0.79/W. N-type cell prices are RMB 0.06-0.07/W higher than p-type ones. G12 HJT cells, mostly for in-house use and less for external sales, see prices remaining at RMB 0.85/W.
Undoubtedly, the fall in cell prices is what module makers want. They hope to initiate price drops in upstream sectors with module price drops but do not want to see cell prices plunge, fearing modules will extend declines consequentially. Overall, there is a clear disparity among price trends across the supply chain. Midstream and downstream sectors continue biding their time and negotiating. Next week, prices may keep declining, improving module profitability, given widely varied trading prices this week.
Orders are delivered steadily in September, with no sign of significant growth for the time being. Some module makers find orders for which prices were previously adjusted exceedingly low undeliverable. Some developers consider reissuing tenders, which could affect purchases for some projects. Still, a modest recovery in module demand is likely during September and October.
In Europe, spot prices sustain less decrease, and order volume rebounds marginally, indicating inventory depletion is underway. Yet, production plans and export status during September and October require further observation. Inventory levels still hinge on demand and delivery progress. In the U.S., demand increases thanks to the initiation of utility-scale projects, while demand from distributed generation projects remains muted due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Module prices hold steady this week, but prices for new orders in September are still mixed. With insufficient rising momentum, module prices are most likely to stabilize.
Tier-1 manufacturers deliver at RMB 1.16-1.24/W for ground-mounted projects and RMB 1.15-1.25/W for distributed generation projects. Some even offer price quotes higher than RMB 1.3/W. Tier-2 and Tier-3 manufacturers generally raise price quotes by RMB 0.01-0.02/W out of cost concerns. Prices for glass-backsheet modules sit at RMB 1.24-1.25/W. Trading volume is rather small due to the limited end-user acceptance. A few module makers adjust price quotes downward as demand shifts.
In non-China markets, prices are stable. Chinese exporters deliver products at USD 0.15-0.165/W (FOB). In Asia-Pacific, module makers deliver at USD 0.155-0.16/W. In India, prices for local modules come in at USD 0.25-0.26/W. In Europe, spot prices come in at EUR 0.145-0.165/W, with modules with black backsheets possessing a premium of EUR 0.02-0.025/W. With orders signed prior to deliveries, modules for ground-mounted projects in the U.S. see a steady price trend. Meanwhile, for distributed generation projects, module prices are subject to market demand and thus more volatile. Presently, the price disparity between the two is rather huge, sitting at USD 0.3-0.42/W (DDP).
Prices for n-type modules shift slightly. The average prices for TOPCon modules stabilize at RMB 1.12-1.33/W and the delivering prices sit at RMB 1.25-1.35/W, with a difference of RMB 0.05-0.1/W. In non-China markets, TOPCon modules are delivered at USD 0.15-0.21, with the premium against PERC ones sustaining at USD 0.008-0.01/W.
For HJT modules, prices decline by RMB 0.02-0.03/W to RMB 1.4-1.55/W in China, coming in at RMB 1.4/W for spot inventory and reaching RMB 1.36-1.38 for low-efficiency modules. In non-China markets, HJT module prices stabilize at USD 0.195-0.2/W.