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PERC cell prices drop reflects possible decline in demand

Poly Price

Polysilicon manufacturers have started to negotiate prices for July, and as anticipated, prices of polysilicon for mono-Si wafers increased slightly, with trading price sitting at RMB 76/kg this week. As for polysilicon for multi-Si wafers, prices dropped marginally to RMB 60/kg. Yet, the degree of price movement was small, prices for chips for mono-Si wafers and polysilicon for multi-Si wafers basically remain stable. With the ongoing negotiation, prices are expected to change in mid-July. Judging from the current supply and demand, prices of polysilicon for multi-Si wafers might continue to go down, while that for mono-Si wafers should stay constant.

Owing to the fact that demand is unable to keep up in July and prices have fallen slightly for multi-Si wafer and dropped rapidly for mono-Si cell, outlook on the overall market is now different. Although some manufacturers have postponed the resumption of high-cost manufacturing lines, supplies of polysilicon for multi-Si wafers remain at a high level because polysilicon capacities are expanding continuously. Therefore, prices of polysilicon for multi-Si wafers are likely to drop below RMB 60/kg.

In overseas markets, demand is higher than in the Chinese market thanks to a relative wide range of price difference. There was also a slight rise in prices due to currency fluctuation. However, prices are unlikely to change considerably in the short run owing to a limited price increase in China.

Wafer Price

The two leading Chinese mono-Si wafer makers have both kept their pricing at the same level for the domestic market, but the quote for overseas markets was revised down by USD 1 cents/piece from June to USD 0.415/piece due to currency fluctuation. Considering the slight shortage of mono-Si wafer supply, the unchanged domestic prices certainly surprised the market. With mono-Si wafer prices staying unchanged, prices for cast mono also stay constant. As for multi-Si wafer, despite a slight decline in prices, demand in July will be in a similar level as that in June. Therefore, future price movements will follow the change in polysilicon prices.

Since more and more wafer makers have started to offer cast-mono wafers for customers to try out, cast mono shipment are expected to increase further in the second half of the year. As downstream sector is still watching the development of cast mono, there’s no market price available but only negotiated prices for reference. At the moment, prices for cast mono with 158.75mm range from RMB 2.85-2.9/piece. Owing to the current short supply of mono-Si wafer as well as the fact that coupling 158.75mm cast mono with half-cut technology can achieve a power output of over 320W, there’s already a growing interest in cast mono among module makers.

PV Infolink will add price quote for cast-mono wafers in July.

Cell Price

The mono PERC cell market saw a slight oversupply due to lower-than-expected cell demand in July and sufficient PERC capacity. As module makers continued putting pressure on cell prices, prices for both standard and bifacial cells released by leading cell maker Tongwei on June 25 are lowered by RMB 5-6 cents/W from RMB 1.21-1.22/W to RMB 1.16/W, leading to a market price of around RMB 1.16/W. In overseas markets, price was also revised down to USD 0.154/W.

However, the current market price is still higher than the maximum price module makers are willing to pay. In addition, buyers and sellers are still negotiating prices after Tongwei released prices while some cell makers have not yet released pricing, the number of transaction won’t surge until tomorrow. As prices are expected to decline marginally in the coming week, cell makers hope this price reduction will stimulate mono-Si demand further.

Following the end of installation boom for June 30 deadline and a plunge in mono PERC cell prices, multi-Si cell prices were unable to rise as anticipated. Tongwei’s official multi-Si cell prices remained at RMB 0.9/W and the market price for conventional multi-Si cells also stays at RMB 0.88-0.9/W.

Module Price

Impacted by the end of solar boom in China and Vietnam as well as the beginning of summer vacation in Europe, the module order volumes for July and August are lower than anticipated. The demand in July may be slightly lower than that in June as well.

Since the volume of PERC module orders won’t remain high in the second half, it is expected that mono-Si module prices will decrease slightly. Between May and June, the market price for PERC module sat at USD 0.27-0.275/W for top-tier makers. However, prices are expected to fall to USD 0.265-0.27/W in Q3.

On multi-Si module side, as the bidding results have to wait until July to be revealed and it will take one to two months to process, Chinese multi-Si module demand is unlikely to increase significantly until September. Recently, price movements have come to a halt, staying at RMB 1.7-1.73/W and USD 0.22-0.235/W.

PV Glass Price

PV glass makers have also started to negotiate prices for July at the end of June. Although prices have slightly increased for some orders, top-tier makers are waiting for PV glass producers to release prices before confirming orders. That resulted in an unchanged market price for coated glasses this week.

Looking back at the SNEC, the market was expecting an uptrend in glass prices in July. However, there are still many uncertainties in the module market, so whether prices will increase as anticipated is difficult to tell yet. The price trend will depend on the outcomes of price negotiation in the next two weeks and the overall market demand.

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