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Projects continually put on hold in Northern China and overseas; demand now hits a peak

Poly Price

Mono-Si wafer use polysilicon prices remained stable this week. Top-tier manufacturers in both China and the overseas basically stuck to RMB 80/kg. Before the end of this year, the average trading price is likely to stay flat at RMB 79-82/kg for either large or small-scale manufacturers. For multi-Si wafer use polysilicon, prices slightly declined to RMB 74/kg this week. The mainstream price is expecting to drop to this level before the end of this year. The price gap between mono-Si and multi-Si wafer use will return to RMB 8/kg. For the overseas, polysilicon prices remained unchanged.

Wafer Price

Wafer prices basically remained flat this week. Although top-tier Chinese manufacturers have increased some prices, many wafer makers didn’t adjust prices. The average trading price of multi wafers reached RMB 2.05-2.1/pc. But since OEM price remains low for brick and slicing process, it’s less likely for multi-Si wafer prices to continue rise. Multi-Si wafer demand is expecting to stay at a low level before the end of this year. On the other hand, overseas multi-Si and mono-Si wafer prices remained unchanged this week.

Cell Price

As installation boom comes to the end in late-2018, multi-Si cell procurement has entered the final peak. In addition, many cell makers have continually lowered or suspended multi-Si cell production before, leading to a quite balanced demand and supply relationship for multi-Si cells from November to December. After multi-Si cell prices increased last week, price of cell with an efficiency of over 18.7% remained flat at RMB 0.88/W this week.

Since Chinese cells have mostly been digested by the Chinese demand, overseas multi-Si cell prices have been scaled up significantly as it’s difficult for overseas module makers to purchase enough number of cells. The average trading price reached US$ 0.106-0.112/W for Taiwanese manufacturers. Third-party manufacturers’ quote in prices reached US$ 0.115/W for India.

However, after installation boom ends in late-2018, whether overseas demand can continue support multi-Si product remains to be seen. With a low order visibility for multi-Si cells next month, despite the higher prices, multi-Si cell makers’ capacity utilization rate remained weak.

The mono-Si PERC market will continue to witness strong demand, with prices staying flat from last week’s. The overseas PERC cell market also witnessed short supply, resulting the prices rising. The average trading price reached US$ 0.150-0.156/W for PERC cell with efficiencies of 21.2%-21.4% and US$ 0.155-0.16/W for PERC cell with efficiency of more than 21.5%. Meanwhile, due to the stable demand in Taiwan, Taiwan’s mono-Si PERC cell prices slightly increased with the price reaching US$ 0.168-0.175/W.

Module Price

For the module, although many top-tier manufacturers have scaled up high-efficiency mono-Si module price by RMB 0.05/W simultaneously, it didn’t have much impact on the actual market because high-efficiency cell and module capacities have mostly been reserved before the late-2018.  

Since the weather is getting cold and end of the year is approaching, the European and US demand growth have started to slow down. Installation projects in Northern and Northwestern China have continually been put on hold. Market demand is likely to decline slowly starting from late-December. Although off-peak season will arrive again soon, the order visibility for 1Q19 is currently higher for top-tier vertically-integrated manufacturers. In addition, because top-tier makers will have most of the orders on hand in 1Q19, second-tier makers may still have to make adjustment to utilization rates during the off-peak season.

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