PVinsights: Upstream Inches Higher Continuously Ahead of China FIT Cut Deadline

Polysilicon price surge continued but at a slower rate this week. Although some major Chinese players are trying to raise the prices as domestic demand kept increasing, Chinese second and third tier players showed less intention in raising the prices as they had some inventory from April to digest. This implies that some suppliers think the prices have been close to the short term peak. Moreover, with the uncertainties of order visibility in June, most suppliers would take conservative strategies to sell their products rather more quantity than higher prices. Therefore, polysilicon inventory level from April slowed down the price surge amid the strong Chinese domestic demands.

Polysilicon price surge continued but at a slower rate this week. Although some major Chinese players are trying to raise the prices as domestic demand kept increasing, Chinese second and third tier players showed less intention in raising the prices as they had some inventory from April to digest. This implies that some suppliers think the prices have been close to the short term peak. Moreover, with the uncertainties of order visibility in June, most suppliers would take conservative strategies to sell their products rather more quantity than higher prices. Therefore, polysilicon inventory level from April slowed down the price surge amid the strong Chinese domestic demands. Influenced by Chinese markets, major polysilicon suppliers also intend to raise the prices out of China, but the price growth was slow amid the conservative demand recovery. Overall, polysilicon prices are rising at a slow pace and approaching the price ceiling.


Multi-crystalline wafer price continued to strengthen this week following the uptick of demand in China. Since multi-crystalline wafer suppliers suffered from sluggish demand in 1Q17, the rush demand in May has given multi-crystalline wafer suppliers a great opportunity to prompt the prices. Since solar cell and module makers had not prepared enough stock earlier to meet current demand, the rise in solar cell production utilization rates in China has successfully stimulated more procurement on multi-crystalline wafers. However, by observing the rise of polysilicon has become tepid, the actual demand of wafer may not be as strong as speculated since downstream manufacturers still aware of demand downturn in late May. In addition, multi-crystalline wafer suppliers in overseas has hiked their prices more obviously than those in China. By leveraging the demand rush from China, overall multi-crystalline wafer prices continue to see noticeable improvement this week. On the other hand, mono-crystalline wafer suppliers insist on holding prices immobile this week. While the demand for mono-crystalline products remains robust, the concern on the price difference between mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline wafers continue to be the main reason that prevents mono-crystalline wafer suppliers to further increase the prices. Moreover, as major mono-crystalline wafer suppliers are expecting to ramp up more production in the second quarter, the ease of supply may also limit the attempts for mono-crystalline wafer suppliers to raise the prices as well. As the result, mono-crystalline wafer prices remain unchanged this week.

Both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices continued to surge this week. Solar cell makers have seized the timing to raise the prices aggressively as they observe the procurement is stronger than anticipated. In particular, the Chinese solar cell suppliers act aggressively to increase the prices in order to enhance their margin performances, while overseas solar cell suppliers are still trying to raise the prices near their break-even points. The attempts of price hike by solar cell makers have witnessed success since the demand restoration in China has successfully driven the prices up. However, this phenomenon may still be questionable since it may be a procurement strategy for solar cell buyers to overbook orders ahead with speculation of further price hike in the near term. On the other hand, the increase of mono-crystalline is less substantial than multi-ones with stabilized mono-crystalline wafer prices. Nevertheless, with the solid demand driven by Chinese Top Runner projects, mono-crystalline cell prices continue to improve this week.

Multi-crystalline module prices fell amid overseas pressure against Chinese domestic rush demand. For 2Q17, Chinese multi-crystalline module suppliers were focusing on domestic demands. Despite the current rush demand, the prices remained steady as top tier suppliers have settled the prices in advance and the strong competition among second and third tier suppliers hindered the price raise. Some Chinese producers were already moving forward to negotiate the orders for 3Q17 in international markets. As the demands seemed obscured, the prices would be expected to drop, especially in July and August. As a result, overall multi-crystalline module prices were dragging down by overseas competition. Overall mono-crystalline module demands were strong, especially in China. However, following the depressed multi-crystalline module prices, the strength in China along still failed to prompt the prices up. Therefore, the mono-crystalline module prices were sustained this week.

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