TrendForce
August 03, 2012

Solar: Bleak market outlook for August

European solar companies jointly filed an anti-dumping complaint to the EU against Chinese solar firms. In the meantime, the Chinese government is debating launching an anti-dumping investigation on multi-Si product imports from foreign companies.

To top it all off, the United States’ final ruling on the anti-dumping and anti-countervailing cases will be decided in October, which ushers in uncertainty for the global solar market. According to EnergyTrend, the green
energy research division of TrendForce, solar demand for August has suffered a huge setback as prices and orders take a steep dive. Midstream and downstream solar firms have taken an extremely conservative stance on procurement with spot prices continuing to plummet.

EnegyTrend notes that the market outlook for August is extremely bleak, so much so that OEM orders are showing a pronounced downturn. Due to the sharp demand decline and the fact that the products from 2Q12 have yet to be
completely digested, companies have started to adjust their product lines.

On account of limited price cuts from suppliers, companies have been placing orders that just meet suppliers' minimum order quantity (MOQ) and relying on the spot market to supply their remaining demand, in an effort to cut costs. At present, spot prices continue to dip. Given that the market is sufficiently supplied, there is more room for spot price negotiations.

As for high-efficiency Si wafers, contract price remained above US$1.13/piece, but a price of US$1.1/piece has appeared in the spot market. Moreover, payment conditions have become more flexible – suppliers have extended payment periods for clients with good credit in hopes of receiving more orders.

For this week, spot prices have dipped significantly due to stagnant August demand and the pressure imposed on manufacturers to adhere to supplier contract terms and implement price adjustments. For major manufacturers,
polysilicon deals were conducted in the $20/kg range, whereas prices from second-tier manufacturers fell around $18/kg.

Given the importance of product quality, in the event that prices amongst manufacturers do not differ
significantly, products from the four major manufacturers will be favored. On the whole, polysilicon prices for the week have shown a continual decline, with the ASP falling to approximately $20.665/kg, a 0.82% decrease. For
silicon wafers, significant price adjustments have been implemented given the negative market outlook and increasing demand for non-standard products.

The weakened demand for high-efficiency items has caused the average multi-Si wafer price to slip to $1.04/piece, representing a 1.23% decrease. Mono-Si wafers fared no better, and saw average price drop by 1.32% to $1.423/piece.

With regard to solar cells and modules, factors such as Europe’s bleak market outlook, increasing inventory levels, and trade investigation rumors have led to a decreasing price trend. Price for solar cells was $0.431/Watt, 5.27% lower than last week’s price. For modules, the lowest price was $0.5/Watt, whereas the average price has dropped to $0.741/Watt, a 0.27% decrease. Thin film products have dropped below the $0.7/Watt threshold to
$0.698/Watt, a 1.97% decrease.
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