Continuing price hike for polysilicon in China during December significantly raised wafer's cost, found EnergyTrend. Mono-si wafer has been in a serious shortage of supply, so its price stayed peaked. Multi-si wafer price nearly stopped falling as well. Combination of the two factors put enormous pressure on mid-stream cell manufacturers.
Polysilicon in the China market still saw under-supply. Some small-volume orders' spot price reached RMB 140 / kg. However, most of manufacturers have not enough supply to sell, so their real spot price ranged RMB 137~140 / kg. As to polysilicon prices in Taiwan, most of them ranged US $13.3~15.5 / kg. Prices are predicted to be at their peak already, and the price trend will turn weaker. However, orders for the first ten days of January are done with negotiation, so in the short run, prices will remain stable.
Multi-si wafer prices fell along with PV cell prices in the recent. Nonetheless, the price fall scale has shrunk recently. Multi-si cell prices in China maintained steadily at RMB 5.0~5.1 / pc, while prices in Taiwan mostly ranged US $0.63~0.66 / pc.
Currently, many mid-and-down-stream manufacturers continued to shift multi-si fab capacity to produce mono-si products. This move intensified the under-supply issue of mono-si wafer, and thus it eroded the total amount of mono-si wafer that Taiwanese manufacturers can procure. This has posted a toughest issue to solve in the near future.
Moreover, the newly expanded capacity of Xi’an LONGi and CMC will hit the market in second quarter of 2017. Therefore, mono-si wafer will continue to see severe shortage in the first quarter of 2017. For the short term, prices will stably peak at US $0.80~0.85 / pc, and they will hardly decrease.
Cell sector's prices fell the most among all sectors this week. Multi-si cell prices with 18.4% conversion efficiency dropped to US $0.21~ 0.215 / W, hitting the edge of cost. Hence, some Taiwanese manufacturers slightly modified downwards their utilization rates. As to mono-si cells, peaked mono-si wafer prices only allowed mono-si PERC to be profitable. In contrast, general mono-si cell prices already dropped to below cell costs. Some cell manufacturers therefore chose to give up standard mono-si cell orders, so that they might survive in this in-sufficient mono-si wafer supply.
The installation rush for solar systems in China has not appeared, and the market demand to modules stays flat. Nonetheless, EnergyTrend predicts that the rush will surely come because the recent policies continuously stimulate Chinese domestic market demand in first half of 2017. After the Chinese New Year Holidays, China's domestic market demand will show stronger procurement momentum, and make entire supply chain to be busy.
(Analysis provided by Corrine Lin, analyst at EnergyTrend; translated by Janet Chen, translator of TrendForce Corp.)