Polysilicon prices continued to rise this week, though the degree has shrunken, where mono-Si compound feedings and mono-Si dense materials were concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 245/kg and RMB 235/kg. Most polysilicon businesses have signed their orders to late February after the successive inflation of wafer quotations last week, and the stocking of polysilicon from the wafer segment under a guarantee in profitability for wafer orders, where some businesses have completed the signing of their orders for this month. Most orders this week were additional orders or orders that were carried over, and had seen a minor increase in prices.
Market transactions are likely to remain sluggish throughout the latter half of February amidst the suspension of inventory pulls among crystal pulling businesses, where the continuous piling of inventory from polysilicon businesses would trigger a new round of price bargaining phase between the two parties. Crystal pulling businesses are currently able to operate for roughly two weeks with their existing polysilicon inventory. Polysilicon prices are expected to stabilize in late February, and the subversion of prices may arrive in early March when the new round of procurement negotiation initiates.
Wafer prices had stabilized this week, where M10 and G12 were respectively priced at RMB 6.22/pc and RMB 8.2/pc. Due to the inflation and reluctance in sales among polysilicon business during early February, wafer businesses had slightly slowed down on their increase of operating rate due to polysilicon shortages, where overall supply and demand had remained relatively constrained due to restricted wafer output.
Polysilicon businesses are likely to become more inclined in shipment throughout the latter half of February as they continue to accumulate in inventory, which would bump up the volume of polysilicon available on the market, as well as actuate an increase in operating rate for the wafer end that may somewhat increase wafer output as a result. However, existing quality issues of crucibles have lowered the output of crystal pulling from individual furnaces, and overall increment of actual output remains quite insignificant despite risen operating rate. Wafer provision is thus expected to maintain at a confined level. With that being said, the constant increase of cell output from the downstream sector, together with the deceleration of procurement from the module end, and the risk of incessantly accumulating inventory among cell businesses, are bound to bring down wafer purchases. TrendForce estimates wafer prices to remain leveled on the whole in late February owing to the weaker downstream demand.
Actual concluded prices of cells had marginally fallen this week, where M10 and G12 were priced at RMB 1.14/W under a reduction of RMB 0.01/W compared to that of last week. Module production schedules have somewhat dropped under the lethargic demand for end installations and the conflicting sentiment towards high cell prices, and have slowed down on procurements, though the cell segment is able to retain a higher utilization and continue to increase in output thanks to the increment of upstream wafer output. Cell businesses, bearing the potential of facing a certain degree of inventory pressure, have first loosened in prices under the simultaneous pressure coming from inventory and the price bargaining with the module segment. First-tier businesses are relatively sturdy in orders, whereas several second and third-tier businesses have slightly depleted in order volume. Cell prices, under the further increment of inventory and the order-seizing strategies among a number of second and third-tier businesses, are likely to first loosen during late February.
This week’s module prices were leveled to that of last week, where 182 & 210 mono-Si single-sided PERC modules were concluded at RMB 1.77/W, while 182 & 210 bifacial double-glass mono-Si PERC modules were concluded at RMB 1.79/W.
An observation on domestic end demand indicates that most previous tender projects have yet to be fully activated, where the worse-than-expected increment of market demand has yielded a restricted degree of transactions, and first-tier businesses, who are currently delivering their orders, have yet to implement any significant adjustments on quotations. End project providers are decelerating in procurement right now due to anticipation towards falling prices subsequently, and are now apparent in adhering to a wait-and-see sentiment. A number of module makers have planned to drop in operating rate, and reduce aggressiveness in inventory pulls whilst lowering output, in order to bargain with the cell segment. Actual concluded prices for cells had somewhat loosened this week, and this round of robust rebound in industry chain prices is likely at its end.
N-type modules were essentially sturdy this week, where 182 and 210 variations were respectively priced at RMB 1.75-1.88/W and RMB 1.95-2.05/W.
In terms of auxiliary materials, glass prices continued to stabilize this week, where 3.2 & 2.0mm glasses were priced at RMB 26.5/㎡ and roughly RMB 19.5/㎡. The module segment is purchasing glasses based on actual needs amidst insufficient end demand, and most glass businesses are seeing a confined level of orders right now, with various degrees of increment in inventory. At the same time, the persistently constricted supply of soda ash has led to incessant inflation, which ramps up cost pressure for glass businesses, where some of these businesses are currently suffering from losses.