Trading activities in the polysilicon sector remained steady this week. Polysilicon demand continued rising as the ingot segment kept higher utilization rates. Production addition this month is expected to reach 67-68 GW, meaning a 6-7% month-on-month increase, mostly attributed to new capacities. However, the share of high-quality polysilicon in the supply structure has yet to show significant increases. Manufacturers need more time to improve quality while ramping up new capacities.
The price disparity persisted this week. For high-quality polysilicon from leading manufacturers, which corresponds to the parameter requirements of n-type ingot production, prices stood at RMB 65-68/kg, varying among manufacturers by RMB 1-2/kg. For polysilicon chunk and granular polysilicon, prices came in at RMB 61-64/kg and RMB 58-62/kg, respectively. While the price range seems to have expanded, prices are well sustained by the ingot sector’s rising demand for high-quality polysilicon due to the rapid increase.
InfoLink closely monitors and reports the supply of all types of polysilicon, especially those better meeting quality requirements for n-type ingot production.
Wafer prices kept falling in the first week of December. Wafers of different formats saw divergent price trends as demand for them fluctuated. Inventory levels remained stable this week, with a slight rebound for p-type wafers and no significant change for n-type ones.
Average wafer trading prices continued slow declines this week. P-type M10 wafer prices fell to RMB 2.2/piece, with the low-price range reaching RMB 2.1/piece, compared to RMB 3.3/piece for the G12 ones. For n-type M10 wafers, trading prices moved downward to RMB 2.35/piece but at a slower pace than their p-type counterparts due to sustained demand from the cell sector. Nevertheless, some traded at last week's average price of RMB 2.4/piece. For n-type G12 wafers, prices remain RMB 3.4/piece.
Overall, wafer prices will still be mixed until the year ends. For p-type M10 wafers, cell manufacturers have lower demand as they cut production or phase out capacity for M10 PERC cells. As a result, prices are likely to fall and cause prices for n-type wafers to drop accordingly. For p-type G12 wafers, prices will lose ground after the fulfillment of November orders. N-type G12 wafer prices are expected to stabilize.
Cell production plans are clear as we entered December, varying among manufacturers. Most professional manufacturers have cut M10 PERC cell production significantly. Some even shut down old production lines to put a brake on the ongoing cash loss. Meanwhile, vertically integrated companies have maintained high utilization rates thanks to their stronger cost control ability and in-house downstream capacity. Overall, monthly cell production output will remain 61-62 GW.
This week, cell trading prices continued to decline. P-type M10 cell prices dropped to the low-price range last week, trading mostly at RMB 0.4/W. Meanwhile, trading prices for p-type G12 cells plunged to a reasonable range, with mainstream trading prices falling by 22% to RMB 0.45/W and the gap with M10 cells narrowing to RMB 0.05/W. Such declines can be attributed to the completion of projects in China and the end of a temporary supply-demand mismatch earlier this month as bulk cell orders finished.
For n-type M10 cells, prices remained at RMB 0.49-0.5/W this week. G12 HJT cells, mostly for in-house use and less for external sales, saw prices come in at RMB 0.65-0.7/W for high-efficiency ones. Due to the continuous decline in demand for n-type M10 products, the price difference between n-type and p-type cells widened, reaching RMB 0.09-0.1/W.
PERC demand shrinks rapidly as the market switches to n-type products, accelerating the replacement of equipment and production lines. Outdated production lines of products of smaller formats, as well as M6 PERC lines modified to M10, are gradually phased out. Additionally, current prices and oversupply put off new players from initiating production. Such a phenomenon will persist until supply-demand dynamics stabilize.
This week, module prices have stabilized temporarily, primarily due to the conclusion of projects across the globe, signaling the onset of the off-season. The price gap remained quite noticeable, with manufacturers adopting different strategies. With capacity yet to be fully booked in January next year, some manufacturers consider using production costs as the pricing benchmark. For monofacial modules based on 182mm PERC cells, prices settled at RMB 0.9-1.03/W, approaching RMB 0.92-0.93/W for new orders. A few module makers have prices below RMB 0.9/W on the table. On the spot market, prices come in at RMB 0.7X-0.8X/W. Non-standard shipments are not included in the spot price report. For monofacial modules based on 210mm PERC cells, prices sustained at RMB 1.03-1.1/W, reaching RMB 0.95-1/W for new orders. Along with the completion of orders, prices for 210mm will gradually approach 182mm in the future.
TOPCon module prices ranged from RMB 0.9/W to RMB 1.2/W. Previous orders were delivered at RMB 1.08-1.18/W this week. Module makers began taking orders at RMB 0.98-1.05/W, potentially RMB 0.97-0.98 /W. Negotiations for next year's orders have seen price quotes of RMB 0.9/W, even RMB 0.88/W. In 1H24, the low-price range of p-type and n-type modules may be the same during the off-season. However, considering production costs, low-price competition may not be a long-term solution.
Cost concerns also stalled the decline of HJT module prices, which currently sit at RMB 1.25-1.35/W in China while holding steady at USD 0.160-0.170/W in non-China markets. For HJT module makers, the focus of 2024 will be the price war with TOPCon.