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High Polysilicon Imports in China May Result in Oversupply This Year

published: 2017-02-10 17:34

The change of supply/demand in China, the major PV market, directly affects global PV trend. As demand keeps picking up, China increases the domestic polysilicon capacity through imports and capacity expansion. But the large capacity scale may lead to oversupply issue this year.

According to EnergyTrend’s statistics, more than 80% of polysilicon is processed into silicon wafers in China. That’s why demand for Chinese polysilicon always remains strong. Imports and domestic production are the two main source of supply. Chinese manufacturers continue to import polysilicon from the overseas. The amount of polysilicon imports reached a new high in 2016. Meanwhile, Chinese makers are planning for large-scale polysilicon expansion. New capacities will be released in 3Q17.
Yet, the Chinese PV market is likely to reflect a downtrend in 2017 compared to 2016. Therefore, demand for polysilicon may be lowered, resulting in oversupply issue in China and lower polysilicon prices.
Korean imports hit new record; anti-dumping and countervailing duties bring uncertainties
According to the Association of China Silicon Industry, the top four polysilicon import countries of China were Korea, Germany, Taiwan, and the US in 2016, with the total import reaching 124,940 tons, representing 90% of the total import. Among all, Korea is the largest import destination, reaching 70,090 tons, accounting for 49.7% of the total import. Judging from the average import price, the average import price reached US$ 16.45/kg in 2016, down 8.2% from the same period in 2015.
Because demand rebounded in November 2016 and China may go over the anti-dumping duties imposed on Korean polysilicon imports, the amount of Korean polysilicon imports peaked in November 2016, reaching 8,366 tons, representing more than 60% of the total import that month.
Overall, how China imposes the anti-dumping duties on Korean polysilicon is the biggest variable in the polysilicon trade, which will directly affect the amount of polysilicon or high-efficiency mono-Si wafer capacity in China. Since the high-quality polysilicon produced by OCI is one of the major raw materials of mono-Si wafer, Chinese mono-Si wafer capacity may be affected if high tariffs are imposed on OCI’s high-quality polysilicon.
(Photo Credit: Saginaw Future Inc. via Flickr CC2.0)

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