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Unclear new target in China, PV market to rely on overseas demand in 2019

The China PV Industry Association (CPIA) held a seminar to review the development of 2018 PV industry and discuss the trend for 2019. The seminar took place in Beijing. Although the amount of grid-connected installation can reach approximately 43GW in 2018, China’s new target for 2019 remains unclear. Therefore, demand will mostly come from the overseas markets after the Lunar New Year. However, it appears that the PV market will continue to witness strong demand after the Lunar New Year.

Poly Price

The polysilicon market witnessed stable prices this week. Polysilicon makers were mostly processing orders from the end of 2018. But for February orders, mono wafer use polysilicon has started to see higher quote in prices. Two Chinese companies have proposed a price higher than the mainstream price of RMB 80/kg. Yet, because orders for February won’t be confirmed after two weeks, the trading volume stayed weak and prices remained unknown. Meanwhile, due to the stable demand, multi wafer use polysilicon prices did not drop continuously, but there were not enough drivers to push up prices. As a result, multi wafer use price stayed flat at RMB 70-71/kg.

The current market condition is slightly better than anticipation. Polysilicon makers have better control over demand before the Lunar New Year. It’s more difficult for prices to decline further in the short run. However, taking lower wafer production during the Lunar New Year into account, polysilicon price is expecting to reflect a downtrend after the Lunar New Year. At the same time, the overseas prices remained stable, but the trading volume for mono wafer use was slightly higher. On the other hand, buyers and sellers still haven’t come to an agreement for multi wafer use polysilicon price.

Wafer Price

The Chinese wafer market saw stable prices this week, while some wafer prices increased significantly in the overseas. With the tight supply and currency factor, multi wafer quotes rose in the overseas, leading to higher trading price. The mainstream trading price of multi wafers reached US$ 0.274-0.28/piece. Because demand remained stable and overseas wafer supplies were being squeezed by the Chinese orders, there are possibilities for the overseas prices to rise slightly. Since most of the orders have been signed for Chinese multi wafers in early-January, the actual trading price will still reach RMB 2.06-2.1/piece although some Chinese makers have pushed up quote in prices. Meanwhile, mono wafer prices stayed flat. Longi is expecting to announce prices for February next week.

Cell Price

The mono and multi cell markets witnessed stable prices and are in wait-and-see mode until after the Lunar New Year. Judging from the market demand, strong cell demand will last till the Lunar New Year. Cell makers are likely to see full PERC production status with limited number of labors. If there’s spare capacity, they will increase the utilization rate for multi cells too.

Module Price

Order visibility is better for mono PERC modules in Q1. Top-tier vertically-integrated manufacturers, particularly, are in full order status with order prices slightly rising in both China and the overseas. But overall, 310W PERC module price remained flat at RMB 2.2-2.3/W and US$ 0.28-0.30/W.

For multi modules, top-tier vertically-integrated manufacturers can come up with higher quote in prices because of the better order visibility in Q1 caused by the earlier deployment in the overseas markets. But the order visibility is lower for second-tier manufacturers, leading to lower quote in prices.

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