This week, polysilicon prices in China remained constant but underwent small change among some producers. Overall, polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers were consistent with their previous levels. Polysilicon for multi-Si wafers was still in low supply; some producers expect the polysilicon market to pick up after the National Day Golden Week. Although there is a low number of deals clinched on polysilicon for multi-Si wafers, its price is moving above the RMB 60/kg level.
Polysilicon prices are expected to remain unchanged during the National Day Golden Week, which will fall on Oct. 1. Yet, since polysilicon is running low on supply and demand, polysilicon prices may climb if the market rebounds. Although polysilicon prices are likely to improve in October, downstream demand for multi-Si cells has weakened further. Against this backdrop, multi-Si wafer prices could decline and polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers could struggle to climb. Chinese polysilicon prices this week varied with the same extent as they had in the previous week; for overseas markets, high-priced polysilicon enjoyed a small price increase thanks to stable demand.
Although demand for multi-Si cells may dwindle, low and high prices of multi-Si wafers kept rising this week in China, with the high price achieving a greater increase and the average price for multi-Si wafers rising back to RMB 1.85/piece. This episode of price increase was attributed to not only strong demand for multi-Si wafers but also increased polysilicon prices. However, whether multi-Si wafer demand will be equally robust after the National Day Golden Week remains to be seen. There have been increasingly fewer requests for quotations for multi-Si cells; this may cause multi-Si wafer demand to diminish after the holiday.
The gap in the market price for multi-Si wafers widened this week, with trading price ranging from RMB 1.83–1.87/piece, although some tier-1 makers sold the wafers at prices beyond this range. The top two manufacturers, Longi and Zhonghuan Solar, maintained mono-Si wafer prices at their previous levels but prices of tier-2 makers kept falling. Whether mono-Si wafer demand can rebound depends on how it will fare in October. Specifically, if the demand improves next month, mono-Si wafer prices may retain their current levels; otherwise, they would trend downward among large producers. Regarding this week’s market price for cast mono, it hovered at RMB 2.7–2.75/piece in China and USD 0.35–0.355/piece for overseas markets.
With so much remaining unknown about downstream demand from module sector, the rush to stock up ahead of the National Day Golden Week is weaker than previous years. This week, cell prices retained their previous levels, conventional mono PERC cells are mostly priced at RMB 0.9–0.93/W, and multi-Si cell prices stayed at RMB 0.81–0.82/W. On September 25, Tongwei published its cell prices for October, which are identical to their levels in August and September.
Q4 may see multi-Si cells meeting a good deal of Chinese demand for solar cells. Yet, October could witness fewer requests made at home for multi-Si cell quotation than previous months; even though India’s high demand for multi-Si cells will be picking up the slack, China’s cell demand depends largely on the domestic market rebounding. Speaking of how prices for mono and multi-Si cells will fare in October, this remains uncertain unless demand from the midstream part of the Chinese supply chain begins to climb after the National Day Golden Week.
This year’s Renewable Energy India Expo sent a message that India’s module demand has made some improvement, helping sustain business for multi-Si modules. On the whole, overseas module demand would be recovering at a stable pace between September and December without achieving any considerable growth. Whether the overall module demand could become as strong as predicted for Q4 depends on the Chinese market exploding.
Although module stocks are shrinking at a slow rate, producers are constantly offering price quotes, with the market price being RMB 1.83–1.9/W for PERC modules in China. By contrast, prices for multi-Si modules stabilized at RMB 1.69–1.7/W. Having declined markedly in China, module prices are rumored to have dipped for overseas markets. Against this backdrop, overseas downstream demand for modules remains largely unpredictable, making it difficult to properly forecast how many orders Chinese module producers will receive in the first half of 2020.
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