PVinsights: Slumping solar prices extends amid intense price competition

Polysilicon extends gains this week amid tight supply situation in China. The domestic demand in China improves as the downstream wafer manufacturers are planning aggressive capacity expansion. Meanwhile, the supply level is relatively tight in China as the trade war bars the U.S. polysilicon imports from Chinese market. Hence, the short-term supply tightening situation has lead major polysilicon manufacturers to successfully increase their price quote this week. As for the polysilicon in overseas market, although the rally continues, the price improvement is not as notable as China, due to the ample supply in the market.


Polysilicon extends gains this week amid tight supply situation in China. The domestic demand in China improves as the downstream wafer manufacturers are planning aggressive capacity expansion. Meanwhile, the supply level is relatively tight in China as the trade war bars the U.S. polysilicon imports from Chinese market. Hence, the short-term supply tightening situation has lead major polysilicon manufacturers to successfully increase their price quote this week. As for the polysilicon in overseas market, although the rally continues, the price improvement is not as notable as China, due to the ample supply in the market. However, the overall scope of increase is rather limited as compared with past few weeks. As the price of polysilicon comes to a relatively high level, and the prices of downstream solar components have all getting slammed, the price uptrend of polysilicon is facing pressure for further drastic improvement.

Multi-crystalline wafer continues the price downtrend this week, affected by slumping multi-crystalline cell price. However, with the relative solid demand, the decline of multi-crystalline wafer is rather limited than multi-crystalline cells. Since solar cell makers utilize their production capacity at almost fully, multi-crystalline wafer consumption could still remain solid at certain level. Hence, without drastic decline of orders, 1st tier multi-crystalline wafer makers are still reluctant to offer further price reduction, leading the price to drop only incremental this week. On the other hand, mono-crystalline price starts to falter this week amid falling multi-crystalline wafer price. In order to comply with price downtrend of multi-crystalline wafer and downstream components, mono-crystalline price could not sustain the pressure any longer, leading the price to tumble this week. Nevertheless, the decline of mono-crystalline wafer is less than multi-crystalline ones as supported by the solid demand improvement.

Multi-crystalline cell price falls consecutively this week, extending long streak of declines since March. As the demand in Chinese market turns slow, multi-crystalline solar cell makers have seen sharp order declines from Chinese PV module makers. Relying on Chinese orders heavily, multi-crystalline cell markers have to offer more competitive price to get rid of the excess stockpiles and to secure the orders, which also forcing other peers to follow such price correction. Moreover, the oversupply situation should worsen as most multi-crystalline cell makers have no intention to reduce high utilization rate. Chinese cell buyers also intend to wait awhile longer to settle the deals for April amid the speculation of further price drop. Therefore, without clear visibility of order, the anxiety of multi-crystalline cell makers to secure the orders leads the price to further plummet. On the other hand, mono-crystalline cell price drops tenderly this week as the effect of the sharply declining multi-crystalline cell price. As the price gap between multi-crystalline cell and mono-crystalline cell enlarges, the demand of mono-crystalline starts to falter. Moreover, the supply of mono-crystalline cell is anticipated to increase as some solar cell makers plans to shift their production lines from multi-crystalline cell to mono-crystalline cell. Nevertheless, the demand of mono-crystalline cell is still relatively solid, leading the price only drop tenderly this week.

Solar panel price drops mildly this week as the decline is partially offset by weakening dollar in a week. In China, the price pressure continues to extend. Many 2nd and 3rd tier solar panel makers have to comply with aggressive price competition in order to digest the increasing stockpiles. While in the U.S. and EU, even with solid demand, the price still continues the deterioration due to the strategic pricing of Chinese module makers on speculations to increase their market shares in these regions in order to balance the weakness of demand in domestic China. In India and the emerging countries, the prices are also under pressure despite the steady demand, because many solar panel makers are leveraging price competition in order to compete for projects in the second half of the year. Fortunately, the price deterioration is partially neutralized by weakening greenback, leading the price to drop limitedly this week.

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