During the second week of July, market demand basically repeated its status from last week. Some delayed fulfillment from Chinese orders by June 30th still existed. Multi-si supply chain's demand remained high. Current utilization rates can last to the second half of July. However, orders of August remain uncertain.
Because of mono-si products' lukewarm demand, PV cell manufacturers hoped the upstream manufacturers would drop their prices. Nonetheless, from mono-si wafer manufacturers' perspectives, they intend to maintain its price drop at a certain pace, and international demand is enough to sustain some quantity of sales. Thus, the pace of the price’s fall is not as fast as PV cell manufacturers would have wanted.
Regarding global module capacity, module capacities of Southeast Asian countries (other than Taiwan or China) such as Vietnam, Thailand or Malaysia are not enough to fulfill the demand from Europe and US markets in 3Q17. Overly high prices forced orders to transfer to other nations' module houses, such as India, Turkey or even Europe. As a result, demand toward Taiwanese PV cells further expanded.
In the past week, polysilicon prices stayed flat. Some manufacturers expressed that the inventory level has been low and there has been no extra inventory for selling, but they have also been concerned about the market demand during the second half of July, so they will refrain from suddenly raising prices.
This week mainland China's polysilicon final prices mainly came to RMB 118~123/kg. There are more manufacturers scheduling for annual maintenance in 3Q17. Thus, from polysilicon manufacturers' point of views, even if manufacturers are uncertain about market outlook, at least prices in 3Q17 will not collapse.
Si wafer's production schedules are still being booked, and this segment has been the only one whose strong demand lasts to August. Due to demand of Taiwanese manufacturers and of markets other than Taiwan or China, some international ultra-high-efficiency multi-si wafer prices kept on moving up. Their order price can be 1~2 cents higher per piece in August than in July.
Moreover, mono-si wafer's end-market demand is not enough, so PV cell prices began to be less steady. Mono-si wafer foundries were asked to drop prices. However, regions outside of Taiwan and China showed strong demand. As for mono-si wafer segment, there are currently not a lot of concerns about sales for now. Hence, foundries did not immediately agree with the downstream customers' requests to lower prices. Rather, based on investment plans and capacity expansion strategies, foundries steadily lead the pace of lowering prices. Prices of this week remained flat.
Mono-si PV cells' prices began to weaken this week due to the pressure of sluggish demand. Some mainland China's manufacturers lowered their prices by RMB 0.01~0.02/W.
Multi-si PV cell demand was maintained. Production lines are booked to the second half of July. Nonetheless, PV cell manufacturers are still very carefully observing how market demand in August will go. They hope to only provide quote prices after the market outlook is definite.
With respect to Taiwanese PV cell manufacturers, production lines are highly booked by orders in July, and the outlook of demand quantities or quote prices will be both optimistic in August.
Module prices did not fluctuate hugely this week. However, the market highly anticipated for price drop, and module houses also expected mainland China demand to fall. Accordingly, orders' prices in August have apparently moved down.
(Analysis provided by Jason Tsai, translated by Janet Chen.)