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Chinese Export Data Analysis

China’s module export in April dropped significantly – 29% from March, reaching a level similar to January – 2,050MW. Although China maintained a shipment at above 2GW, there’s almost 1GW of export difference between March and April. That’s also why prices declined for all sectors of the supply chain in March. But judging from the price rebound in April/May and the return of full module capacity status, Chinese export will be the lowest in April of 2Q17. Demand has remained strong in China and the overseas markets in May/June. Yet, despite the increase/drop of demand, the average trading price has kept declining for modules, reaching US$ 0.347/W in April, down 10% from US$ 0.384/W in January.

India is still the largest market for Chinese module export. But following the end of fiscal year, export in April was only half of that in March – 667MW. The same situation happened in the Japanese market, with the export dropping by 47%. The decrease of Chinese export to India and Japan is exactly the gap between March and April. For the ranking, the emerging markets have better performances, with each countries in the emerging markets took turn to be in the top ten. Among all, Mexico was ranked in the top ten for the first time in 2017, while Iran also returned to the top ten again after January.  

Following the decline of the Indian and Japanese markets, the proportion of exports to the Asia-Pacific region has dropped from 71% to 59%. Meanwhile, exports to the Middle East have surpassed that to the Americas mainly because most of the modules were shipped to the US from third-party countries. Therefore, the US will still be the second largest export market aside from the Asia-Pacific region. On the other hand, demand in Africa has also grown substantially.

For export regions, although India, Japan, and Pakistan all witnessed downtrend, they were still the top three export destinations. Because Australia has stable demand but is lack of domestic module capacity, it changed places with Brazil and moved up to No.4. However, the biggest change in April was that Mexico has moved up to No.5 as the market is positive about the demand in Mexico in 2017. Since power plants will officially start the construction, stable shipment is expected to remain in the following months. 

For other emerging markets, exports to Peru and Jordan all increased stably. Also, Iran has returned to the top ten. Although module shipments to Brazil have dropped significantly, its cell shipment remained the same as of March. Yet, the largest variable for future module demand in Brazil is still the degree of policy incentives.

For companies, Jinko’s shipment was the highest in April and there’s slowly a shipment gap between Jinko and Trina Solar. The two companies may switch places in May in terms of this year’s cumulative export volume. Despite the lower overall shipment in April, shipments for Canadian Solar and East Hope have grown. East Hope’s shipment to India and Peru both ranked first in April, and that’s why East Hope moved up to No.5 in terms of this year’s cumulative shipment. On the other hand, the increase of shipment to the Indian market has also been another factor to the growth of Canadian Solar in April.

For products, most of the export products were conventional multi-Si products, representing 95%. PERC and N-type products were rare. Overall, the most common power output were 72-cell 320W/315W/325W, accounting for 52% because most of the modules were still shipped to markets with ground-mounted utility-scale power plant demand.

China’s cell and module export volume both declined in April. Although India, Korea, and Brazil remained as the top three export countries, only exports to Brazil have slightly increased. Exports to India and Korea have each dropped by 30%. Yet, exports to the top three countries still represented 79% of the total and continued to be the major markets for Chinese cell export.

For cells exported to India, Yingfa and CSUN both shipped more than 10MW of cells. Only Canadian Solar and BYD has shipped cells to Brazil. Up until April, Canadian Solar’s cell shipment has reached 127MW. Others like Suntech, DMEGC, Risun, Tongwei, and BYD each shipped out about 50-60MW. For products, 92% of the products were conventional mono and multi-Si products. There was 25.8MW of mono-Si PERC shipment, a slight rise from March. Most of the high-efficiency cells were shipped to Canada. The highest export volume for a company shipping to a country is HT-SAAE’s mono-Si PERT shipment of 3.45MW to Turkey.

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