PVinsights: Worsening Glut Threatens Global Solar Market with Sluggish Demand

Polysilicon prices that soared amid speculative frenzy last month just took another leg down, dropping slightly as rising production in the top manufacture spurred concern global supplies are once again topping demand. In China, polysilicon rally has stalled. Although demand remains solid, the sluggish downstream performance provides no driving forces for prices to further advance. Furthermore, as Chinese polysilicon manufacturers Daqo and TBEA continues to expand their production capacities and low-volume production by new entrant EastHope is expected to come on stream in 2Q17, the increasing supplies by Chinese polysilicon suppliers also spur the speculation that supply would probably top demand in near future.


Polysilicon prices that soared amid speculative frenzy last month just took another leg down, dropping slightly as rising production in the top manufacture spurred concern global supplies are once again topping demand. In China, polysilicon rally has stalled. Although demand remains solid, the sluggish downstream performance provides no driving forces for prices to further advance. Furthermore, as Chinese polysilicon manufacturers Daqo and TBEA continues to expand their production capacities and low-volume production by new entrant EastHope is expected to come on stream in 2Q17, the increasing supplies by Chinese polysilicon suppliers also spur the speculation that supply would probably top demand in near future. On the other hand, polysilicon prices in overseas markets appear to be coming off the highs. Along with the rising utilization rates by American polysilicon suppliers, the oversupply situation has worsened, leading some polysilicon suppliers to lessen stock level by reducing prices, and traders to take their profits. As the result, overall polysilicon prices decline incrementally as overseas polysilicon prices witness downward corrections.

Multi-crystalline wafer price remain stable this week, but the outlook has become more subdued. While top tier multi-crystalline wafer suppliers have yet to release their official prices for March, most multi-crystalline wafer suppliers have seen pricing pressure building as downstream solar sectors are losing momentum. On the other hand, supply shortage drive mono-crystalline wafer prices up this week. Due to the limited supply of mono-crystalline wafer, some solar cell makers even offer higher prices in effort to secure more procurement volumes. Moreover, the 1st tier mono-crystalline wafer suppliers also raise their price quotes for March, resulting higher mono-crystalline wafer price this week.

Multi-crystalline cell prices are poised to drop as major buyers threats to reduce procurement volume or cut prices. Exacerbating the problem is oversupply nature, which leaves competition remains fierce as major solar cell makers engage in price reduction to secure orders. Moreover, market sentiment has turned around over recent weeks as pessimism mounts that demand has been disappointing since post-holiday return. On the other hand, mono-crystalline cell prices remain stable as sustained by elevated mono-crystalline wafer cost and limited production output. However, the depressed mono-crystalline module prices continue to put a lid on any potential price rises of mono-crystalline cell. As the result, multi-crystalline cell prices drop slightly this week while mono-crystalline stay immobile due to limited supply.

Module prices have slumped more than 11% since mid-November on speculation that more module makers intensify pricing competition amid a darkening outlook for global growth. As the traditional hot seasons in Japan and India were over, the recent tariffs for local PV projects in 2Q have witnessed noticeable decline as module makers leverage pricing strategies to win the auctions. In China, the recent released project tender have seen module prices to decline continuously since the demand recovery in China after lunar New Year was weaker than anticipated. Furthermore, the persistent price competition also leads solar panel prices in EU and US to drop consecutively. As the result, the downtrend of global solar panel prices is hard to reverse as global glut lingers.

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