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Overseas module prices keep falling on unexpectedly low demand in Q4

Poly Price

This week, polysilicon prices declined a bit to RMB 74/kg for mono-Si wafers but hovered at RMB 60/kg for multi-Si wafers. Some negotiated deals yielded higher polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers, which came in at RMB 60–62/kg. The overall market has not come back strong, so producers that are going to procure polysilicon are looking closely at how the market is faring. The procurement price of polysilicon would keep fluctuating in the near future.

How prices for mono-Si and multi-Si wafers will change at the end of October warrants attention. Although polysilicon supply is adequate, polysilicon prices will still be depressed unless prices on the downstream side stop falling. Polysilicon supply is predicted to be higher in November than in the previous month; therefore, polysilicon prices for mono-Si and multi-Si wafers could be revised down. This week’s polysilicon price for mono-Si wafers was revised down a bit. Whether to revise down the next week’s polysilicon price for multi-Si wafers depends on the utilization rate of multi-Si wafer producers. 

In the previous months, polysilicon prices moved downward along with wafer prices, but polysilicon prices did not fall to the same level of wafer prices recently. This has placed multi-Si wafer producers under increased pressure. However, as multi-Si demand is weakening these days, prices for multi-Si products will be struggling to climb. For overseas markets, transactions are still bustling over polysilicon for multi-Si wafers—particularly polysilicon chips. High-priced polysilicon for multi-Si wafers has fetched price increase when exchange-rate variations are accounted for. 

Wafer Price

This week, multi-Si wafer prices were dragged further down to RMB 1.82–1.86/piece by persistently falling multi-Si cell prices. However, issues concerning multi-Si cell stock may again push down multi-Si wafer prices. The market price for multi-Si wafers is RMB 1.84–1.86/piece among Tier-1 makers. Prices for mono-Si and multi-Si products are still swinging, so pressure on multi-Si product prices may persist for a while.

Zhonghuan Solar and Longi were expected to publish their November list prices for mono-Si wafers this week. This would have a significant impact on the market, making it possible for price decrease to take place, a possibility that plays a critical part in polysilicon and wafer markets. This week, low-priced mono-Si wafers and cast mono were both reduced, whereas other wafer products maintained their previous price levels.

Cell Price

Rapid price decline hitting mono-Si modules since the September–October period appeals to the end market, causing the number of orders for multi-Si modules for now and next year to decrease. Moreover, with lots of Chinese projects delaying to next year, demand for multi-Si cells remains sluggish, with prices having fallen to RMB 0.75–0.78/W for the domestic market and USD 0.1/W for overseas markets. While wafer prices have yet followed closely with falling multi-Si cell prices, wafer prices have reached the break-even point for quite a few producers, causing the producers to revert their production lines to mono-Si cells and even begin scaling back multi-Si cell production capacity.

A new round of price negotiations over mono PERC cells would take place after wafer prices are settled. Thus, mono PERC cell prices stabilized this week at RMB 0.91–0.95/W for the Chinese market and USD 0.12–0.122/W for overseas markets. While the widespread reverting of production lines from multi-Si to mono-Si cells will improve the supply of mono PERC cells and new production capacities are going to come online in November, it will be much more difficult for mono PERC cells to achieve price increase next month.

Module Price

Tendered projects in China are being constructed later than expected, leading to a general market expectation that more PV projects contracted through auction will be pending construction until the first half of 2020 and thereby aggravate the already pessimistic sentiments shared in the PV industry. The Chinese mono PERC module price has declined rapidly over the past two to three months to RMB 1.75–1.85/W; this low price range is penetrating into overseas markets, causing foreign mono PERC module price to fall from USD 0.25–0.26/W to USD 0.23–0.245/W, the next year’s mainstream price quote for modules. Moreover, with the market likely to keep falling short of predication in Q4, module quotes may continue to decline for overseas markets in the first half of 2020.

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