Polysilicon prices in RMB took a breather that the surge were slowing down after a lackluster China trading and as buyers awaited for more clues on downstream demand and maintenance impact, while the price quotes in USD showed a bigger increase supported by strengthening RMB. Two earthquakes hit Sichuan and Xinjiang overnight, rumors circled in the market that the earthquake would further reduce the polysilicon production, trying to boosting the prices to another rally. However, as both of the epicenters were at least 400 km away from the closest polysilicon factories and the production has been confirmed by suppliers without any impact, the earthquake would not raise another rally in the market. In overseas market, the polysilicon prices extended its gain but capped by resilient buyers as there was no supply shortage and the utilization rates remained low.
Soaring prices of multi-crystalline wafer extended a sweet spot for multi-crystalline wafer makers, which have enjoyed solid orders and, through China’s massive supply chains, have underpinned global uptrend since late June. The suppliers’ drives to reduce slurry-sawed wafer capacity capped overall supply of multi-crystalline wafers, yet demand from China and overseas have started held up so far. More buyers were shifting production toward production mono-crystalline products amid costly multi-crystalline wafer prices. In China, 1st tier buyers could barely take further price hikes with exacerbated margins, while 2nd tier buyers accelerated the adoption of diamond-wired wafers due to lower costs. Therefore, despite the impacts of supply disruption by major multi-crystalline wafer suppliers and shortage resulted from the technology transition, suppliers’ decision to hike prices on slurry-sawed wafers has disrupted procurement appetite and harm the market shares of multi-crystalline products, leading the price increase rate continues to decelerate. Mono-crystalline wafers price drop eased after several weeks’ declines amid increasing costs of polysilicon. In China, due to underlying concerns about a weaker demand outlook, the prices were pressured, but the impact was offset in USD term due to the recent strong RMB against USD. In overseas market, spot prices of mono-crystalline wafers remained unchanged this week on the back of balanced supply and demand fundamentals.
Multi-crystalline cell prices held steady on surging wafer costs, as demand stayed vulnerable and the major buyers’ hold the outsourced volume. In China, multi-crystalline cell prices have seen signs of weakening as the 2nd tier suppliers selling at discounted prices despite the increasing wafer costs. Nevertheless, with the strengthened RMB, the prices in dollar term stayed immobile from last week. Meanwhile, suppliers in overseas failed to boost the prices up as buyers firmed their attitude on procurements. Costly multi-crystalline cell prices eventually translated into demand drop as buyers could not withstand continued price hike of multi-crystalline cells. Suppliers failed to pass the costs on to consumers as cell makers absorb the changes in wafer costs by adjusting their own profit margin. As for mono-crystalline cell prices, intact downtrend continued this week amid lingering worries about the China demand backsliding. The prices of mono-crystalline and mono-PERC cells in China extended the slide, partially due to lower conversion rate, but mainly resulted from the plunge of domestic demand. Even with surging Yuan, the scope of decline for mono-crystalline cells could not be balanced off when translating to dollar term.
With supply and demand issues remained unbalanced, the continuing dollar weakness has been a key factor supporting global multi-crystalline module prices this week, especially when the U.S. increase cancelled out the India slash. In China, faltering domestic demand was leading module prices to continue on its slide, offset by strengthening RMB. In India, Chinese module suppliers were under intensifying pressure as the price cut, requested by Indian project developers due to increasing GST rated, has been limited amid the upstream rally and strengthening RMB. In Japan and the EU, the module price decline was neutralized by weakening dollar, while the price in U.S. gained on solid demand. Signs of faltering demand for mono-crystalline modules became more tangible, as elevated prices dampen anticipated return.