Business | June 11, 2012

Taiwanese prices increase, Chinese prices remain low

According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, last week, photovoltaic solar cell prices showed two divergent trends – this week, the same has occurred for wafer price.
TrendForce research indicates this week’s solar cell prices remained low in China, while Taiwanese makers saw steady orders, which helped maintain the price uptrend but did not result in a significant price rebound. As clients place more orders with Taiwanese wafer manufacturers, price quotes from Taiwanese suppliers continue to climb. However, as Chinese makers’ prices are falling, Taiwanese manufacturers are wary of stretching the price gap too wide and losing orders to other suppliers.

According to TrendForce data, Chinese silicon wafer manufacturers have already quoted prices below US$1.05/piece, but currently such figures are limited to domestic business. Some suppliers are striking with low pricing strategies in an effort to expel competitors from the market sooner, while others are reducing price in order to secure cash quickly and ease their own financial difficulties.

However, limited by raw material costs, Chinese manufacturers have yet to slash prices drastically. In contrast, Taiwanese silicon makers focused on making high-efficiency products have raised prices, as their capacity is almost completely taken up already.

Nevertheless, related vendors indicate they are still observing Chinese makers’ prices – currently average price is around US$0.05. In consideration of quality, so far clients have not taken the bait, but if the price gap widens any further, suppliers indicate they may see pulled orders.

This week’s spot prices showed different developments based on product category. According to TrendForce research, this week’s polysilicon prices remained in the US$20-22/kg range, but average price fell to US$21.539/kg, a 0.13% decreased compared to last week.

As for silicon wafers, Taiwanese suppliers have raised prices while Chinese makers are lowering prices – this week’s average multi Si wafer and mono Si wafer price was US$1.058/Watt and US$1.506/Watt, a decrease of 0.75% and 1.05%, respectively. In terms of solar cell price, Taiwanese products saw increased prices while Chinese product prices remained low, resulting in an average of US$0.455/Watt, an increase of 0.22%. Module and thin film product price stayed flat.

TrendForce believes Taiwanese prices will continue rising, while Chinese makers will face pressure from decreasing prices. Looking towards the second half of 2012, there are many factors affecting the market that are unclear as of yet, in particular changes on the European market.
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