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Business | August 01, 2012

PV market outlook worsens

European solar companies have been negatively affected by Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria’s subsidies cuts. According to related manufacturers, European market outlook remains stagnant, and certain clients have delayed their payments and shipments.

On the other hand, actual orders have yet to reflect climbing demand in China and Japan, not to mention that emerging markets have not taken off yet. As a result, companies have revised their forecast for 3Q12. According to EnergyTrend, the green energy research division of TrendForce, related companies have adjusted their total orders for August downward by 10%-20%, while European orders saw a 5-10% decrease. Additionally, given the murky outlook for 2H12, August prices will see a sharp decline. Some manufacturers noted that non-standard product (referring to products with irregular specifications) prices will face a severe challenge to stay flat. On the other hand, despite the bleak market outlook, demand for non-standard products has been on a steep uptrend. According to EnergyTrend research, a price of $0.4/watt has appeared in the market, putting a lot of pressure on cell makers. However, major wafer makers’ capacities were not enough to supply the recent demand surge, which provided room for the small companies with less advanced technologies and lower yield rates to break into the supply chain and increase their market shares in the downstream sector. Related companies stated that as the climbing demand will most likely persist, price-performance ratio will be the key to acquiring orders. Standard product prices will see drastic fluctuations in August and September. This week’s spot prices continued to dip as the outlook turned lukewarm and companies started to digest their inventories. Major polysilicon makers’ spot prices have dropped to US$19/kg, indicating that companies had to make compromises in order to clear their inventories. Polysilicon prices continued to show a mild downtrend this week, with ASP arriving at US$20.835/kg, a 0.24% decrease. As for silicon wafers, the negotiation for August prices has started, and the target prices differed vastly from those in July. The murky market outlook put a dent in the multi-Si wafer ASP, which slid to US$1.053/piece, a 0.85% decrease. As for mono-Si wafers, ASP fell by 1.64% to US$1.442/piece due to the double impact from weakened demand and high-efficiency products. As for solar cell and modules, given the pessimistic European market outlook and clients’ emphasis on price-performance ratio, solar cell ASP dropped to US$0.455/Watt, a 0.66% decrease; module ASP dipped to US$0.743/Watt, a 0.13% decrease.
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