China’s Polysilicon Prices Continue to Surge, Price Increases from Mid-to-Downstream Vendors to Follow

According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, polysilicon and mono-Si wafer prices are continuing on an uptrend as talks regarding China’s double anti-policy in February grow more widespread. With relevant institutions being largely optimistic about 2013’s demand situation, various industry players are gaining additional confidence, which is in turn encouraging mid-to-downstream vendors to increase their price quotes. The bullish market outlook, should it persist, is likely to contribute to further price growth, in effect allowing the pricing uptrend to continue.

As indicated by EnergyTrend’s data, the tax penalties imposed by the Chinese government on polysilicon importers are between 30 to 50%. Although the ASP for imported polysilicon ranged from around $16USD/kg to $16.5USD/kg during 4Q12, with the relevant tax penalties applied, the prices can soar to as high as between $20USD/kg and $24USD/kg. For Chinese polysilicon vendors, such an increase is beneficial in that it not only paves way for higher profits, but also heightens the competitive advantages for relevant businesses within the Chinese industry. Affected by the polysilicon price surge, manufacturers for Si wafers, solar cells, modules, and peripheral components are beginning to keep a lookout for any potential price change. Given that the price surge, as perceived by relevant vendors, has only just begun, a price increase based on cost-considerations does not appear to be appropriate at the moment. Proper pricing adjustments are likely to take place only when the market situation calls for them.

In the spot market, the average prices are observed to be on a steady surge, even though the suggested buying and selling prices for polysilicon are largely similar to those from last week. With prices in the Chinese market continuing on an uptrend, ASP for multi-Si wafer and mono-Si wafer approached $5.7RMB/piece and $7.6RMB/piece, respectively. In terms of US dollars, polysilicon prices are 15.969USD/kg this week, a 0.52% increase; For multi-Si wafer, the lowest prices were quoted at $0.78 USD/piece, whereas average prices grew to $0.818USD/piece, a 0.12% increase; Mono-Si wafer ASP ended up at 1.097USD/piece, increasing by 1.20%; For PV solar cells, prices jumped to $0.348USD/Watt, a 0.29% increase. According to the observations from EnergyTrend, even with relevant industry vendors attempting to increase their prices, the price quotes have remained at about the same standard as during the previous quarter. The current pricing movements, we believe, can be attributed to the various vendors who are testing the waters of the market.

As indicated by EnergyTrend, it is not unlikely for a pricing rebound to occur following a region-based shortage in the near future. In terms of the long run, given that the market oversupply will unlikely be resolved in a short period of time, system investors have generally been unwilling to see a decrease to their expected returns. In the periods to come, whether PV prices from the supply chain will be able to reach to and stay within break-even point will be a challenging issue for relevant PV businesses to consider.


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