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PV Industry Price Trend: Supply Chain Enters Another Bargaining Phase as Elevated Cell and Module Cost Impede Orders Signing and Resulted in a Wait-and-See Attitude from the End Sector

published: 2021-08-19 16:16


Polysilicon quotations had slightly recovered this week, with supply of the product turning constrained. The recovery in the prices from the downstream industry chain, coupled with the lack of products for sales from most businesses during August, have exerted a certain degree of impact on polysilicon prices, and sporadic quotations in the current polysilicon market have marginally risen. Mono polysilicon quotation had increased to RMB 206/kg this week. Owing to an anticipated rebound in demand, most polysilicon businesses are currently producing at a full load status, and a number of businesses have started negotiating for September orders. A confined supply of polysilicon is expected to once again emerge as the risen operating rate for wafers supports the demand of the product.

An observation on the production, operation, and shipment status of the domestic polysilicon sector indicates that one respective business from Xinjiang and Jiangsu among the eleven operating multi polysilicon businesses are currently in overhaul, and are scheduled to resume production at the end of the month. A comprehensive inflation was seen in each segment of the supply chain last week under the resumption of end demand, and an imbalanced supply and demand is starting to surface in the polysilicon sector, whereas the supply chain may once again be hit with an inflation that suppresses the end demand. On the other hand, the resurgence of the issue pertaining to non-Xinjiang production has impeded the delivery of modules from partial downstream businesses due to inspections from the US. Simultaneously, a new vertically integrated business had signed long-term orders with overseas polysilicon businesses this week in order to guarantee the smoothness of future exports. The fermentation derived from local polysilicon production is expected to raise the procurement cost of polysilicon produced in areas outside of Xinjiang in an indirect manner, and the overall polysilicon prices may be affected in the future.


Wafer quotations essentially remained constant this week, and the supply of certain wafer products remained restrained. SME businesses have been following the rise in quotations implemented by leading wafer businesses last week, and partial first-tier wafer businesses have locked on their orders for August, which is why no price adjustments have been seen within the short term. Another leading wafer business is about to reveal its quotations as late August approaches, and the quotes are expected to fluctuate alongside the overall market status. M6 wafers sat firmly at RMB 4.89/pc this week after having gone through a plummeting and rebound. Owing to the end sector’s magnified degree of demand for mono-Si wafers, the inventory of mono-Si wafers has not only depleted, but a short supply of certain sizes is also seen. The quotation interval of wafers is narrowing continuously.

The market demand for multi-Si wafer is recovering significantly during August, and the gradually emitting order demand under an increment of downstream orders and a steadily rising operating rate have maintained the domestic and overseas prices of the product at RMB 1.85/pc and US$0.256/pc respectively.


Cell quotations had marginally risen this week, with a simultaneous increase in mono-Si Cells of various sizes. Leading mono-Si cells businesses have slightly ascended their quotations for August. The previous quotations of the cell market are approaching the production cost of businesses, and the room for quotation adjustments has been restricted accordingly, while the inflation of upstream wafers has elevated the cost of cell production, which prompted cell businesses to increase their prices in order to make up for the risen cost of cell production. As for multi-Si cells, the domestic and overseas prices are stabilized at RMB 0.68/W and US$0.096/W under the gradually releasing demand from the downstream Indian market, which resulted in a steadily recovering operating rate for modules.

The recovered demand and the increased demand for large-sized products in August, which is gradually transmitted to various segments, including modules, cells, wafers, and polysilicon, have prompted a reduction in cell inventory that triggered a tight supply of the product. This round of inflation has stimulated a wait-and-see sentiment in the downstream sector, and cell businesses have adjusted their prices, though actual concluded orders remain on the inferior end in terms of quantity.


Module quotations remained stable on the whole this week, with an inflation tendency also seen in auxiliary materials. The end sector is not buying the inflation attempted by a number of module makers last week, and module quotations are starting to stabilize this week. There has been a sizeable improvement in the popularity of high-efficiency module orders, with a price that is RMB 0.02-0.03/W higher. A number of module makers have reflected that adjustments on module prices this month will be relatively difficult as a substantial recovery in market demand is happening in the fourth quarter.

Judging by the recent tender status in China, the average prices of first-tier businesses have slightly fallen compared to that of July, and the trend of risen material cost is expected to contribute to the incessant bargaining between first-tier and second/third-tier businesses, as well as the diminishment in quotation differences, where the delivery period for partial module makers will be extended accordingly. Pertaining to overseas markets, the shipment of several module makers is examined by the US, which creates problems for the shipment of makers that are focused on the capacity in Southeast Asia, and extends the delivery cycle and operation cost by a certain extent.

Glass prices remained temporarily stable this week, and the majority of glass businesses are adhering to their previous quotations, with a marginal increase seen in few glass orders. 3.2mm PV glass is now sitting at RMB 21-23㎡, while 2.0mm PV glass has arrived at RMB 17-20/㎡. The low inventory of glass businesses, coupling with the actuation from the quotations of other auxiliary materials, are exhibiting strong signals in a minor inflation amidst stabilized PV glass prices during September.


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