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© rob hill dreamstime.com Analysis | February 21, 2014

European makers maintain market share

European manufacturers to maintain market share as China temporarily cancels anti-dumping and countervailing investigation on European poly.

EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, indicates that although the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) proclaimed that Europe’s solar-grade poly imports counted as “product dumping” and it caused substantial damages to Chinese poly industry, the Chinese government decided not to impose anti-dumping tariff on European poly imports. EnergyTrend believes that this will help European manufacturers to maintain their market share in the Chinese market in 2014. It can also give pressures to the ongoing USA-China trade war. EnergyTrend’s data indicates that Chinese poly imports were 81 thousand tons, among which, Germany, USA, and Korea totaled 70 thousand tons, representing 87% of China’s total poly imports in 2013 (Germany – 32%, USA – 28%, and Korea – 27%). Apart from the three countries, other countries, such as Taiwan, Japan, and Norway, represented 8%, 4%, and 1%, respectively, of China’s total poly imports in 2013. The rest of the regions represented less than 1%. “Taiwan usually exports poly to China in the form of a spot trade, with supply mostly coming from long-term contracted manufacturers. Wacker (Germany) and OCI (Korea) are the major manufacturers that currently run contracts in Taiwan. Therefore, Korean and German poly imports account for about 65%-67% of China’s total imports,” said Arthur Hsu, research manager of EnergyTrend. Aside from the US, the average price for other major import regions is above US$18.5/kg. Yet, the average price for US imported products is only US$13.83/kg, a 35%-70% price difference compare to other regions. On the other hand, based on the final anti-dumping and countervailing result announced by China, punitive tariffs of 55.4%-59.1% were imposed on US manufacturers. In which, punitive tariffs of 55.4% were imposed on one of the major manufacturers, Hemlock. In the short term, USA, Korea, and Germany are still the major countries for poly imports. From long-term perspective, the anti-dumping and countervailing tariff will not be imposed on European manufacturers for now since US manufacturers face punitive taxes of more than 50% while Korean manufacturers face only 2.4%. EnergyTrend believes that this will help European manufacturers to maintain their market share in the Chinese market in 2014. It can also give pressures to the ongoing USA-China trade war. Judging from last week’s spot market, since the Chinese Lunar New Year just ended and ITC planned to announce the investigation result by Feb 14th, both Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers have started to map out all kinds of possibilities, hence leading to conservative market trade. For poly, demand from China remains strong. Although there are uncertainties caused by the USA-China trade war, trade in the Chinese market continues. Current average price is above RMB150/kg. Last week’s average poly price reflected an uptrend, with price reaching US$19.745/kg, a 1.54% rise. For inverters, investors usually request a certain rate of return (IRR), thus inverter manufacutrers’ price continues to decline as subsidy rate keeps dropping. Last week’s average price reached US$0.187/watt, a 3.61% drop. For wafers, cells, and modules, last week’s price remained steady.
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