Installation rush in China ahead of June 30 is about to terminate, so trading volume has significantly dropped. For one thing, there is nearly no product for transaction in the market; for the other, it is meaningless to buy PV products this week because it is impossible to complete construction and grid connection on time. In China, both upstream and downstream PV sectors possess a “wait-and-see” attitude toward future market, leaving PV spot prices nearly unchanged this week.
U.S.’s Section 201 will make the U.S. market the successor to China market’s leading position in terms of global demand. Due to U.S. PV developers’ psychological expectations, the U.S. market demand is surging. Global PV supply shortage has gradually shifted to so-called “third-party” countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand, where are not covered under U.S.’s anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs. U.S. market’s PV demand will emerge forwards to the third quarter of 2017, and PV suppliers will choose to fulfill orders earlier in the same quarter to avoid future supply risks. These factors will essentially stimulate utilization rates in third-party countries.
Furthermore, SolarWorld AG, the former leader of the European PV industry, has filed bankruptcy and hence severely hinders European market’s local supply. As the European market usually enters into peak seasons in the second and third quarter, PV demand at peak seasons has becoming stronger this year. Third-party countries’ capacity in, at least, the next two months, therefore, has already been booked, thanks to stronger demand in the U.S. and the European markets.
This phase of strong demand will be mainly driven by USA and Europe, markets that have respectively set certain trade barriers against China and Taiwan. Since Taiwan-made PV cells have won exemption from EU’s anti-circumvention duties, European market would favor Taiwanese products rather than Chinese products, which will again create different price trends to PV manufacturers basing across the Taiwan Strait.
In China, market uncertainty after June 30 has fluctuated PV prices, while it is contrary to the market outlook in Taiwan. This week, prices of Taiwan-made si-wafers and PV cells both continued growing led by price rise of third-party countries’ production. Especially, the spot price of ultra-high efficiency multi-si wafer, a segment that has been stock at severe supply shortage, has reached US$0.63~0.64 per piece. Ultra-high efficiency multi-si PV cell’s spot price has been rose to US$0.23 per watt.
As for mono-si PV products, leading company LONGi has announced to cut its product prices to shorten the price gap between mono-si and multi-si products in case of losing customers, despite that the market demand to mono-si products remains strong.
Demand differentiation created by the U.S. and European markets goes to PV module sector as well. PV module supply from the third-party country capacity has been in short. The order visibility extends by more than two months and the module quotes are also hiking. Suniva requested unreasonable high tariffs for PV cell and module imports, so U.S. purchasers will accept PV products at even higher price level. As a result, EnergyTrend expects that the PV price trend, especially in the U.S. and European market, will keep rising as it closes to the end of the third quarter.
(Analysis provided by Jason Tsao, analyst at EnergyTrend)