PVinsights: Holiday Season Tempers the Momentum of Price Slump
Solar module prices continue to drop this week, but the scope is relatively limited in comparison to previous weeks. Although solar panel sectors continue to struggle with oversupply, the thinning trading in EU and US during holiday season, the stabilized solar panel prices in China, and the tempered pace of strong dollar have all resulted to a limited drop of module prices this week. Because the solar panel prices in EU and US had experienced sharp reduction, due to the fierce competition before the year-end of 2016, the descent of solar panel prices in these regions have seem to be relieved temporarily this week. Moreover, although solar panel prices in these regions remain depressed, a lull in trading from the holidays has led the prices to be less volatile. Meanwhile, solar panel prices in China remain firm this week thanks to the solid domestic demand.
With the price downtrend of the downstream sector, both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices remain to descent continuously but within a limited scope as speculation on lower supply in advent of Chinese New Year. Although solar cell makers see good order visibility and high utilization rates lasting at least to the Chinese Lunar New Year, multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices remain vulnerable to corrections with pressured downstream prices. However, amid rising speculation about lower utilization rates in Chinese New Year holidays in later January and expectations of stronger procurement momentum after then, solar cell makers intend to lower their price quotes at more conservative rates. In addition, regardless of solid demand on high efficiency cells, the elevated level of mono-PERC prices still experience larger correction this week as buyers acceptance wanes. Therefore, both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices fall incrementally this week.
Multi-crystalline wafer prices are slightly depressed this week amid depressed downstream prices. Multi-crystalline makers manage their price to fall within a limited scope thanks to the solid demand and high utilization rates from solar cell makers. Moreover, multi-crystalline cell makers are reluctant to release further price reductions as most multi-crystalline wafer makers anticipate for a demand bloom after Chinese lunar New Year. In contrast to multi-crystalline wafer, mono-crystalline wafer prices are relatively sustainable as supply shortage persists. Nonetheless, despite the supply shortage of mono-crystalline wafers, mono-crystalline wafer price is unable to ascend as inhibited by the long streak of losses in the downstream sectors.
Regardless of downstream price downtrend, polysilicon prices continue to continue to rise slowly this week. The persistent under-supply situation in Chinese polysilicon market enables Chinese polysilicon makers to push up the prices continuously. Nevertheless, as the price hike near the saturation level, the momentum of ascension has also seen to slow down a bit. Meanwhile, polysilicon prices in overseas stay unchanged this week as there are no ambitious price hikes being observed and the volumes of transactions are very low as most buyers as well as sellers awaiting for the post-holiday return to resume price negotiations and purchasing activities. Hence, overall polysilicon prices continue to ascend with incremental improvement.