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Photovoltaic Industry Price Trend: Rise in Cost of Cells and Modules Derive Pressure to Operating Rate as Polysilicon Prices Elevate
2021-02-26   |  Editor:et_editor  |  249 Numbers

Polysilicon

The polysilicon market continued to amplify this week, with a continuous increase in the overall polysilicon prices, and apparent upward adjustments in overseas quotations. As the Chinese New Year holiday drew to an end, there have been more order requests in quotations this week, though most polysilicon businesses are still executing their orders this week, which resulted in no remaining spots for sales. The fewer quantity of new orders in the market has induced a rising trend in the spot prices of small product batches, and the quotations for March are expected for negotiation at the end of February. The overall average price of mono polysilicon has increased to roughly RMB 93/kg, and partial products were concluded at RMB 94-95/kg. The flourishment in the market of mono polysilicon has propelled the quotations of multi polysilicon this week to a mainstream quotation at RMB 57-60/kg, and a slight increase in the average price to RMB 58/kg. In terms of the overseas markets, the inflation in the cost of shipping due to the shortage in shipping containers, as well as the decelerated speed of logistics owing to pandemic controls, have generated a sizeable elevation in polysilicon quotations for non-China regions at US$10.957/kg for the average price, whereas the simultaneous ascension in domestic and overseas quotations has prompted the average price of global polysilicon to US$11.813/kg.

An observation on the production, operation, and shipment status of the polysilicon sector indicates that downstream wafer businesses are continuing the demand for polysilicon prior to the Chinese New Year, and the market remains vigorous. There are currently 10 operating polysilicon businesses in the country, though the fewer production days during February compared to January has diminished the provision of the overall polysilicon market in February. The domestic supply of polysilicon is expected to increase continuously during March alongside the additional production days, improvement in the regional power rationing, and the increasing volume for each business after overhaul. On the other hand, the restrictions that the overseas markets placed on Xinjiang’s polysilicon production may ferment in the second quarter of 2021 due to impeded import and logistics of polysilicon, as well as the unabated pressure in shipping. As new production capacity for wafers successively initiates, polysilicon prices will remain at a high level from the excess demand status of the polysilicon market. 

Wafers

Wafer quotations continued to rise this week, with a comprehensive upward adjustment in the prices of large-sized mono-Si wafers. The prices of polysilicon are temporarily maintained at the high level, and the inventory of traders has allowed the market to continuously escalate the spot prices. With no loosening in polysilicon prices, wafer prices are going to increase constantly. The market prices of mono-Si wafers have fully risen this week after first-tier wafer businesses announced the pricing for February, where the average prices of G1 and M6 mono-Si wafers have been upward adjusted to RMB 3.25/pc and RMB 3.35/pc respectively, and the prices of M10 and G12 mono-Si wafers have risen to RMB 4.08/pc and RMB 5.72/pc respectively. In response to the periodic shortage in polysilicon, wafer businesses are holding onto a safe level of inventory in fear of an inflation. Leading businesses have accelerated on the progress of wafer thinning to reduce polysilicon consumption and elevate wafer production, and partial wafer businesses have started negotiation by increasing the purchase price of polysilicon.

There are now fewer operating businesses in multi-Si wafers due to the stagnant demand and the obstinately high costs. On account of the excessive demand for mono polysilicon, wafer businesses have also started to seize multi polysilicon, which induced a minor increase in the product price, and actuated a rise in the cost, where downstream cell businesses are not accepting the inflation. The pressure for multi-Si wafers persists, and the product is focused on a leveled price performance, where the domestic and overseas average prices are now maintained at RMB 1.41/pc and US$0.193/pc.

Cells

The prices of the cell market remains sturdy this week, and businesses are ready to increase quotations. As the expansion in upstream wafer production was restricted by polysilicon supply, power rationing, and insufficient thermal field, the progress of production has been lower than anticipated, and the relatively tight supply of wafers due to shortages in materials has enlarged the purchase pressure in the raw materials of cells after the upward adjustment in wafer prices, which actuated the cell prices to be ready for an inflation. G1 cell prices are currently robust, and sit at RMB 0.89/W and US$0.12/W for domestic and overseas average prices. First-tier businesses are gradually diminishing on bottom quotations when dealing with requests for March orders, and the quotations for G1 mono-Si cells are fluctuating at RMB 0.9/W, whereas the quotations from second and third-tier businesses have slightly risen. Cell resources below RMB 0.88/W are almost nonexistent.

In terms of large-sized products, the domestic and overseas average prices are at RMB 0.84/W and US$0.121/W. Businesses are planning for inflation in around March so as to respond to the pressure derived from materials shortages and rising costs. The average prices for M10 and G12 cells are now at RMB 0.92/W and RMB 0.93/W respectively. Regarding order volume, first-tier businesses reflected that most regular clients have started to negotiate for March orders, and the demand subsequent to Chinese New Year has yet to subside. A number of second and third-tier businesses are not following up on manpower after Chinese New Year, which allows businesses to adjust their production capacity in accordance with the inflated wafer prices, and has not created significant impacts to the overall market.

There has been an increase in the overseas demand for multi-Si cells alongside the reduction in domestic businesses for the particular product. First-tier cell businesses have been fulfilled in orders, and cell businesses are mostly shipping with small profits and quick returns as the domestic market begins propelling the demand for multi-Si cells, which impelled the domestic and overseas average prices of the particular product to sit firmly at RMB 0.53/W and US$0.073/W.

Modules

The overall module prices have been comparatively stable this week, where businesses are attempting to increase their quotations. Partial mono-Si module quotations have risen recently due to the adjustments in quotations from the upstream sector, and most first-tier businesses are trying to increase the prices when negotiating for March orders at roughly RMB 0.03-0.05/W. There have been minor adjustments in convention and high-efficiency modules, though with no concluded transactions. The average prices for the 325-335W/395-405W and the 355-365/425-435W mono-Si modules have risen to RMB 1.58/W and RMB 1.67/W respectively. M10 and G12 modules remain stable in quotations this week, and are now sitting at RMB 1.64-1.73/W as the mainstream quotation, with an average price of RMB 1.66/W. Regarding multi-Si modules, the relatively weaker demand has resulted in comparatively stable prices, where the average price for the 280/330-335W multi-Si module is now at RMB 1.33/W and US$0.18/W respectively.

The quotations continued to be stabilized in the glass market this week, though the tight supply status has yet to be mitigated. The prices of 3.2mm and 2.0mm glasses are now at RMB 42-48/㎡ and RMB 32-36/㎡, with a minor reduction in the average price to RMB 44/㎡ for the former. Module makers continue to exhibit a more tenacious demand for photovoltaic glass. An observation on the current status of the market of cell module indicates that the cost is continuously elevated, and the bargaining between businesses and the downstream sector persists. Overseas demand is being released constantly, and partial domestic tender projects continue to postpone in delivery, whereas the prices of auxiliary materials such as silver paste and film remain at a high level from the impact of the earthquake in Japan. The cost of raw materials may continue to rise. On the other hand, businesses are implementing wafer thinning, which improves downstream craftsmanship, and the addition of promotion for large-sized modules (≥166m) in the distributed market is likely to expedite the market of large-sized products under the current simultaneous suppression on the supply of polysilicon and wafers, as well as the gross margin of cells.

 
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