The polysilicon sector has experienced an improvement in price negotiations and order intake. However, downstream sectors are still grappling with cost and margin pressures, prompting them to seek lower price quotes from polysilicon manufacturers. As supply increases steadily, polysilicon inventory will continue accumulating in the second half of the fourth quarter.
A more specific look finds prices of Tier-1 manufacturers gradually decreased from RMB 70-73/kg last week to RMB 65-70/kg this week, indicating a decline in mainstream prices.
While the increased utilization rate of the ingot segment has driven up demand, the wafer sector faces price declines and the risk of inventory accumulation. Overall, the supply-demand outlook of upstream sectors by the end of the year remains pessimistic, with attention to be paid to the low-price range after this round of declines.
Despite the efficient inventory depletion in November, wafer supply and demand strike a temporary balance. However, the future remains grim. Currently, manufacturers increase production plans again, pushing up the total production plan. If production cuts are less than expected in December, another round of inventory risk will emerge at the year’s end. By then, manufacturers will find themselves in a dilemma between adjusting utilization rates and cutting prices.
This week, average wafer trading prices decreased again, sitting at RMB 2.3/piece and RMB 3.3/piece for p-type M10 and G12 wafers and RMB 2.4/piece and RMB 3.4/piece for n-type M10 and G12 ones, respectively. In addition, some manufacturers undercut low-price wafers, purportedly to RMB 2.1-2.2/piece for p-type M10 ones. Further declines are likely next week.
Cell trading prices were little changed this week. Prices for p-type M10 cells hold steady at RMB 0.45/W. For G12 ones, prices continued to rise under a supply-demand mismatch, reaching RMB 0.58/W and approaching the new quote of RMB 0.6/W, with the price difference reaching RMB 0.13/W, highlighting the disparity in prices for cells of different formats.
For n-type cells, M10 TOPCon cell prices fell to RMB 0.5/W this week. G12 HJT cells, mostly for in-house use and less for external sales, saw prices come in at RMB 0.7/W for high-efficiency ones. The price difference between n-type and p-type cells reached RMB 0.05/W.
While cell prices show minimal fluctuations, inventory levels are rising. Manufacturers are likely to cut production next month. Recently, G12 products are experiencing serious supply-demand mismatch as inventory draws pick up. This prompts manufacturers to consider modifying existing production lines for G12 production to enhance profitability. However, manufacturers are hesitant to make the move due to similar concerns that aggressive changes could affect profit margins and purchasing fixtures would result in additional costs.
With polysilicon and wafer prices falling towards the end of the year, cell prices are likely to decline in the near term. Module production plans at year-end will significantly impact cell supply-demand dynamics.
Module prices are mixed this week due to increasing volumes of sell-offs as module makers liquidate inventory as the year’s end approaches. For distributed generation projects, prices dipped rapidly, coming in averagely at RMB 0.98-1.03/W for 182mm PERC modules. For 210mm ones, prices are sustained at RMB 1.03-1.08/W by cell prices. Subject to production costs, small and medium-sized manufacturers are selling at prices RMB 0.01-0.03/W higher than Tier-1 module makers. The gap is likely to widen. Module makers sold off 182mm PERC modules at RMB 0.93-0.94/W. These prices are of non-standard shipments, thus not collected in the spot price database.
The market became cautious due to sell-offs for inventory depletion. Additionally, demand will weaken in December as the month marks the conclusion of project construction. Mainstream prices have reached below RMB 1/W for December.
As demand switches from PERC products, prices for TOPCon n-type modules come in at RMB 1-1.2/W, reaching RMB 0.98/W on the spot markets, with some module makers offering price quotes for sell-offs at RMB 0.93/W. In non-China markets, the premium against PERC modules in non-China settled at USD 0.005-0.008/W.
For HJT modules, prices were little changed, sitting at RMB 1.28-1.38/W in China. Future price drops are likely, given declines across the supply chain.
In November, Chinese exporters will deliver products at USD 0.12-0.135/W (FOB) overseas. The price range may reach USD 0.12/W in December. In Asia-Pacific, module makers will deliver at USD 0.12-0.13/W. In India, prices for local modules will average at USD 0.2-0.24/W. In Europe, spot prices begin to level off at EUR 0.11-0.135/W.