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Prices across supply chain hit rock-bottom; foreign prices declined marginally amid currency fluctuation

Poly Price

This week, China’s polysilicon products—particularly polysilicon for multi-Si wafer—saw slight price variations. Many wafer makers plan on using lower-priced polysilicon to ease their worries over costs, but the shortage of polysilicon for multi-Si wafer has kept prices contained after most polysilicon producers raised the volume of polysilicon for mono-Si wafers. Although trading prices of polysilicon have increased by RMB 1/kg, the market price stands at RMB 57–58/kg for the time being as quite a few big producers are still biding their time.

While it may take half a month to one month for market to recover, demand level for polysilicon for mono- and multi-Si wafer remains moderate. So, the polysilicon market is sustained by a balanced supply-and-demand equilibrium and low inventory levels. In September, two overseas polysilicon makers are due to operate at full capacity, whereas one polysilicon maker or two in China will undergo maintenance, which will result in a slight increase in supply volumes. Therefore, for polysilicon prices to stabilize and rebound, the market needs to pick up in time.

For overseas markets, polysilicon prices were hit by fluctuating exchange rates. Although polysilicon was in high demand abroad, foreign prices for polysilicon for mono-Si wafer kept falling. On the other hand, foreign polysilicon quotes for multi-Si wafer did not decline owing to an uptrend in Chinese polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafer. Overall, overseas polysilicon demand remained stable; price movements was mainly ascribed to currency fluctuations.

Wafer Price

Some changes occurred in wafer prices this week. With polysilicon prices going up a bit, there were significantly fewer multi-Si wafers that offered with a price under RMB 1.8/piece. But because multi-Si wafer prices of the high-price segment cannot go higher accordingly, its range of prices has narrowed, with the market price staying at RMB 1.8–1.84/piece. For overseas markets, multi-Si wafer prices decreased amid RMB depreciation; as far as the current RMB-USD exchange rate, foreign prices will likely decline further but may stabilize at around USD 0.24/piece.

Along with falling multi-Si wafer prices, the prices for cast-mono wafers decreased, with the market price in China standing at RMB 2.7–2.75/piece. Foreign prices for cast-mono wafers were also revised to USD 0.355–0.36/piece in response to falling multi-Si wafer prices and currency’s depreciation.

Mono-Si wafer prices for September were quoted this week. Although manufacturers maintain their pricing for the Chinese market, their foreign quotes declined by USD 0.01–0.015/piece because of currency fluctuations and stay above USD 0.4/piece. Undersupply of mono-Si wafers has subsided markedly in China and abroad; whether wafers can see price increases in Q4 should depend on the progress of China’s PV projects. Meanwhile, prices for 158.75-mm (G1) mono-Si wafer declined for overseas but remained constant in the Chinese market.

Cell Price

September is coming, but the Chinese market still sees no signs of anticipated demand recovery. Low sales kept haunting standard cells, while mono PERC cells were traded mostly at RMB 0.9/W. Despite module makers’ haggling, most cell makers keep price level the same as previous, and this price range should reach bottom. Cell prices are expected to rebound from excessive declines in mid-September, when the market should be recovering.

For overseas markets, cell prices reflected RMB’s depreciation over the past weeks, with mono PERC cells prices falling slightly to USD 0.12/W.

Meanwhile, demand for standard cells remained low whereas that for larger-sized and bifacial PERC cells improved. As a growing numbers of module makers have upgraded their production lines and higher-wattage products are much in need in the end market, the real shipment of larger-sized and bifacial cells are forecast to increase significantly in Q4. Starting September, PV InfoLink will be tracking prices for mono PERC cells made from 158.75mm full square wafer.

The Chinese market saw multi-Si cell segment hitting bottom this week, with prices staying at RMB 0.81–0.82/W.

Module Price

As Chinese demand recovered later than expected, module makers that were maintaining high utilization rates saw increased stock. Chinese and foreign module prices declined a bit. Foreign prices, in particular, were trending downward these days amid RMB-USD exchange rate changes.

It appears that developers will use more mono-Si modules than multi-Si modules for tendered projects. So, Q4 will likely see higher demand for mono PERC modules. However, as demand from some of Chinese projects may be delayed to 1Q20, Q4 may not see any noticeable increase in module prices.

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