PVinsights: Solar components continue to surge except modules

The price uptrend of polysilicon persists this week. After experiencing the inventory selloff in September, the inventory pressure forcing listed producers to lessen stock levels by offering price discounts is largely relieved. Meanwhile, the demand in the downstream has also seen noticeable improvement. The polysilicon makers in China have seize the timing to spike the prices since October. Moreover, several Chinese polysilicon makers are conducting annual maintenance that have raised the speculation of limited overall supply and contributed to the uptick in price as well. On the other hand, the non-Chinese polysilicon makers, who responded to the price uptrend not as faster as Chinese rivals in the previous weeks, have accelerated the pace on increasing the quotes this week as to trim the gap with polysilicon prices in China.

The price uptrend of polysilicon persists this week. After experiencing the inventory selloff in September, the inventory pressure forcing listed producers to lessen stock levels by offering price discounts is largely relieved. Meanwhile, the demand in the downstream has also seen noticeable improvement. The polysilicon makers in China have seize the timing to spike the prices since October. Moreover, several Chinese polysilicon makers are conducting annual maintenance that have raised the speculation of limited overall supply and contributed to the uptick in price as well. On the other hand, the non-Chinese polysilicon makers, who responded to the price uptrend not as faster as Chinese rivals in the previous weeks, have accelerated the pace on increasing the quotes this week as to trim the gap with polysilicon prices in China. Intriguingly, the shipment of polysilicon does not seem to grow accordingly, implying that although the prices continue to spike, the actual demand recovery still remain fragile.


Both multi- and mono-crystalline wafer prices continue to grow sharply this week. The acceleration of the price hike is mainly driven by the imbalance of demand and supply in the short term. Such imbalance is the side effects of the earlier wafer production curtailment in September. The demand recovery since October has come in more rapidly than expected that the current supply volume could hardly to digest immediately because the production has not yet fully recovered. Moreover, the top tier multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline wafer makers also seem to controlling the releasing of wafers as to raise the prices continuously to make up for the losses in 3Q16 and for their in-house use for downstream projects. In addition, the supply of mono-crystalline is tighter than multi-ones, as mono-PERC cells are more in demand due to the Toper Runner projects and limited numbers of mono-crystalline wafer suppliers. The lingering effects from earlier production curtailment for both mono- and multi-crystalline wafers along with the rising demand in the downstream lead to a short term shortage in supply, and continue to push up the prices for both mono and multi-crystalline wafers in this week.

Following the surging wafer prices, both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices continue to spike this week. After suffering from long streak of price slump during 2Q16 and 3Q16, solar cell makers try to raise the price aggressively in order to compensate for losses, especially at such timing that the upstream cost continue to surge and production of solar cell makers have not fully recovered. The average of multi-crystalline cell prices continues to be driven up by tight supply of high efficiency multi-crystalline cells. Similarly, mono-crystalline cell prices continue to climb this week. Although the demand in standard mono-crystalline cells seems not that strong, the price also obvious improves following the uptrend of multi-crystalline cells. The demand in mono-PERC cells does noticeably improve with the aid of Top Runner projects. However, the supply level of mono-PERC still seems to be too limited to fulfill the demand that reflects a strong pull-up in mono-PERC prices and help to drive up the average price of mono-crystalline cell.

Despite the strong uptick in prices of upstream components, the rising cost does not seem to reflect on module prices. Although the demand in China has improved, that improvement is not strong enough to further push up the price and the buyers of modules still reluctant to accept the prices hike. Hence, even the top tier module makers, who should benefit the most from the demand recovery, intend to leave the prices immobile at this time. Hence, considering that the global demand recovery remains fragile, major module makers hesitate to raise the prices immediately, leading the solar panel prices to stabilize this week

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