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Diminished supply prompts multi-Si wafers, cells prices to rise

Poly Price

As multi-Si wafer producers are resuming operation one after another and having stable demand for polysilicon, the mainstream polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers held up at RMB 44–51/kg, the preceding week’s level. Polysilicon for mono-Si wafers is in slightly short supply, because there is steady end-market demand for mono products and strong demand for polysilicon to facilitate the plans to expand production capacity for mono-Si wafers as scheduled.

Hampered by a shortage of silicon powder supply, a few Chinese polysilicon manufacturers may have to reduce their utilization rates in February. Others will be operating at full capacity this month but may undergo wholesale changes in their supply next month. Thus, some mono-Si wafer producers signed deals for polysilicon ahead of time this week, allowing high-priced and low-priced polysilicon for mono-Si wafers to both climb by RMB 1/kg and come in at an average of RMB 73/kg.

Foreign polysilicon prices did not show much change this week, arriving at USD 8.3/kg for mono-Si wafers and USD 6.7/kg for multi-Si wafers. On the supply side, an overseas Tier-1 polysilicon maker that mainly fulfils Chinese demand reduced its utilization rates this month, affecting the supply of polysilicon in China.

Wafer Price

After four months or so of decrease, multi-Si wafer prices picked up this week amid short supply. Reasons behind the shortage are some producers closed for the Lunar New Year holiday ahead of time and the government extended the holiday as part of its measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The pick-up is also attributed to demand taking place downstream. This week’s multi-Si wafer prices came in at RMB 1.43–1.57/piece and averaged RMB 1.55/piece in China. Prices held up at USD 0.202–0.208/piece in foreign markets. With multi-Si wafer and cell lines running at low utilization rates, while those resumed operation are increasing production, multi-Si wafer prices may not achieve noticeable increase until late February.

Mono-Si wafer prices will remain stable in the short term, considering that a small shortage occurred before the Lunar New Year holiday and the coronavirus outbreak led to delays in worker’s return from the holiday and logistics. How they will fare thereafter depends on the duration of the pandemic. This week, mono-Si wafer prices held up at RMB 2.98–3.06/piece in China; in foreign markets, they hovered at USD 0.385–0.393/piece for those sized in M2 and USD 0.42–0.428/piece for those sized in G1.

Cell Price

Despite outrunning module makers in the production volume, inventory of mono-Si cells started piling up as module makers are operating at low capacity due to a shortage of components and logistic hiccups. This week, M2 mono cells stayed at RMB 0.95/W in China and USD 0.121/W in foreign markets. G1 ones hovered at RMB 0.98/W, but they are expected to decrease slightly due to oversupply. 

On the supply side, production volumes of multi-Si cells are relatively low. As multi-Si wafer prices stand to climb and Indian developers are rushing to install PV systems before the end of the fiscal year, multi-Si cell prices climbed this week to a market price of RMB 2.65–2.75/piece, and they will rebound slightly in the short term.

Module Price

At present, manufacturing activity saw the lowest in the module segment of the supply chain. As logistic hiccups are not going to subside any time soon, components such as junction boxes and aluminum frames take longer than expected to deliver and global module shipments are disrupted. Therefore, module makers are likely to raise price quotes for overseas markets, although so far not much trading has been going on. Since delivery delays continue to hamper the supply of components and module shipments, module prices remain stable on the whole. Only a few deals clinched in foreign markets have fetched higher prices.

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