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Wafers Await Re-Pricing as Overall Industry Chain Strongly Anticipates Price Reduction

published: 2023-04-20 15:22


Polysilicon prices continued to drop this week at a slightly decelerated degree compared to that of last week, where mono-Si compound feedings and mono-Si dense materials were concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 193/kg and RMB 190/kg. Most orders for April were signed this week, with a small volume of market transactions, and polysilicon is relatively stable in the low price segment of mainstream concluded orders, while an apparent reduction was seen from the high price portion of mainstream concluded orders. The downstream sector, due to the anticipation towards declining prices, is signing one order for each week on the whole in order to avoid losses from price drops, which has somewhat prolonged the duration of order signing. The crystal pulling end has been dropping in order pulls recently due to the accumulation of wafer inventory, which continues to intensify the negotiation intensity on polysilicon prices, and led to an on-going reduction of polysilicon prices this week. Polysilicon inventory, under such development, has been rising as a result, and subsequent prices are likely to maintain a slow depletion alongside the persistently excessive supply.


Wafer prices had also carried on with a declination this week, where M10 and G12 were concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 6.36/pc and RMB 8/pc. The recent arrival of a batch of imported quartz sand is likely to mitigate the strained supply of crucibles for some businesses, which would yield an effective guarantee on the operating rate of the industry, and could lead to a further growth of wafer supply. With that being said, downstream cell businesses have been sluggish in inventory pulls due to the expectation of price reduction, and wafer inventory, as it continues to pile up, is generating an amplified degree of negotiation pressure before maintaining the existing deterioration subsequently. As TrendForce understands it, specialized businesses are currently occupying 15-20% of N-type wafer shipment, and would adjust their structure in accordance with succeeding market demand. The full PV industry chain is currently firm on anticipating a price reduction, and awaits a re-pricing in wafers that would facilitate an increment in end installation demand.


Cell prices saw a small fluctuation this week, where M10 and G12 were concluded at a respective mainstream price of RMB 1.07/W and RMB 1.13/W. The piling up of cell inventory is becoming severe as the downstream sector is unable to digest the previously high level cell production, especially with PERC M10 cells, where the drop of wafer prices last week that led to a loosening of cell cost, as well as how the downstream module segment persists under negotiation pressure, had resulted in loosened concluded prices for M10 cells this week, while G12 cells had remained unchanged in prices thanks to support from demand. Individual module makers have started slowing down on inventory pulls under the overall anticipation of price decrement, while cell businesses have fully begun lowering wafer procurement as they are confident that wafer prices will collapse by a significant margin.


Module prices continued to stabilize this week, where 182 & 210 mono-Si single-sided PERC modules were respectively concluded at RMB 1.67/W and RMB 1.68/W, while 182 & 210 bifacial double-glass mono-Si PERC modules saw a respective concluded prices of RMB 1.69/W and RMB 1.7/W.

A large number of tender projects from previous periods are gradually entering bid opening and construction as demand for end projects continues to improve, while overall price differentiation remains relatively serious due to the persisting price suppression sentiment from the end sector, and the ferocious competition among module makers. First-tier makers have locked onto most of their orders, and are maintaining their previous price levels thanks to support on cost, where second and third-tier makers are offering roughly RMB 0.03-0.05/W cheaper than that of first-tier makers in order to seize orders. Module prices could drop further alongside the falling prices of upstream wafers and cells.

In terms of auxiliary materials, glass prices had maintained sturdiness this week, where 3.2mm and 2.0mm were respectively priced at RMB 26/㎡ and roughly RMB 18.5/㎡. Glass shipment has been relatively smooth recently following the successive purchases from module makers, which led to different levels of reduction for glass inventory. Partial soda ash and natural gas prices had slightly loosened, and the small increase of concluded glass prices from before is also contributing to the successive recovery of profitability among glass businesses.

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