PVinsights: Liquidity Crisis Forces Top Wafer Makers Propping Up Prices

Tepid procurement momentum continues to hold polysilicon prices steady this week amid mounting concerns of demand outlook after June 30th. Although some Chinese polysilicon suppliers attempt to raise prices along with the price hike of multi-crystalline wafers, most buyers are reluctant to accept as they realized the possible risk of price decline in near future. Moreover, as many buyers have already secured inventories, they do not have immediate need to purchase at this moment. Instead, they have buffer time to take conservative approach and wait for demand clarity. Hence, the latest attempts for Chinese polysilicon suppliers to strengthen the prices had only limited success.

Tepid procurement momentum continues to hold polysilicon prices steady this week amid mounting concerns of demand outlook after June 30th. Although some Chinese polysilicon suppliers attempt to raise prices along with the price hike of multi-crystalline wafers, most buyers are reluctant to accept as they realized the possible risk of price decline in near future. Moreover, as many buyers have already secured inventories, they do not have immediate need to purchase at this moment. Instead, they have buffer time to take conservative approach and wait for demand clarity. Hence, the latest attempts for Chinese polysilicon suppliers to strengthen the prices had only limited success. On the other hand, polysilicon based on overseas are less active to increase the prices since the moderate utilization rates of non-Chinese multi-crystalline makers lower the demand. As the result, overall polysilicon prices stay immobile with lingering concern on demand outlook.


Multi-crystalline wafer prices edge higher this week with strong influence by the leading Chinese multi-crystalline wafer suppliers. Although the demand driven by installation rush is widely anticipated to lose momentum in early June, the recent announcement by top tier Chinese multi-crystalline wafer maker stun the market with continuing ascension on prices, firstly aiming on 2nd and 3rd tier clients with less bargaining power. The strong moves by top tier multi-crystalline wafer may due to its financial beleaguered status that it urgently need to raise cash to cover the increasing liquidity pressure associated with its PV project investment. Those wafer buyers who did not secure enough inventories are forced to accept the elevated prices due to looming shipment deadline. However, even though the movement of the top Chinese wafer maker draws attention to a likely price-bullish story for multi-crystalline wafer, major buyers again turn their attention to solar demand fundamentals. Meanwhile, mono-crystalline wafer suppliers still insist on holding prices unchanged despite the uptick in multi-crystalline wafer prices. Considering that the wide price gap between mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline wafers persists, mono-crystalline wafer suppliers intend to keep the prices stable to prevent demand shift in spite of the fact that supply remain constrained. In the contrast with steady mono-crystalline wafer, the hike of multi-crystalline wafer prices are perceived as questionable intention given the fact the supply of multi-crystalline remain abundant without supply shortage.

Following the rising multi-wafer prices, multi-crystalline cell prices also slightly rebound this week. In the past couple of weeks, the solid demand failed to push up prices as the acceptance of buyer wanes and the demand outlook uncertainty mounts. However, following the increasing multi-crystalline wafer prices, solar cell makers again find a leverage point to increase the prices successfully as they need to pass the elevated cost onto buyers. Moreover, since solar cell supply are in a temporarily shortage as many solar cell makers do not operate at full utilization rates, the restricted solar cell supply helps solar cell makers to raise the prices successfully. On the other hand, major solar cell makers are attempting to increase the prices of mono-crystalline cells along with multi-ones.

Multi-crystalline module prices are continuing on the descent this week in spite of rising wafer and cell prices. Although Chinese solar panel makers strive to increase the prices following the demand boom in China and the rising upstream prices, the attempts had not been success. Meanwhile, the demand in the US have bolstered by the recent turmoil surrounding the Suniva petition, which have temporarily ceased the downtrend of solar panel prices in the region. In India, the proposed GST tax on imported solar cell and modules continue to drive solar panel prices lower as project developers are hoping the module suppliers to absorb the taxes on their own. In EU and Japan, solar panel prices continue to slide due to sluggish demand in these regions. On the other hand, mono-crystalline module prices are staying firm this week as supported by the demand for mono-PERC in the U.S and by the Top Runner projects in China.

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