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Higher raw material cost may compel cell makers to increase price

Posted: 06 Jan 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TrendForce  raw material  cell manufacturer  multi-si wafer 

EnergyTrend, a research arm of TrendForce, has revealed that cell makers may revise the price upward to correspond to the increased poly and multi-si wafer price with a targeted average price of $0.4/W.

"After poly price slightly declined in 2Q13, it started to go upward in 2H13. In fact, ever since poly price dropped to $16.32/kg in July, it never got worse than $16.4/kg. Poly price in 4Q13 reached $17/kg and average spot price in the end of 2013 even approached $18/kg. Judging from the average monthly price, poly spot price rose by 7.2 percent in 2H13. Average price came to $17.5/kg in December, 2013 while that in January, 2014 will be $19-20/kg," said Arthur Hsu, research manager of EnergyTrend.

Poly Price Trend from July to December, 2013

Poly Price Trend from July to December, 2013

On the other hand, since poly price in 4Q13 was already $17.0/kg and multi-si wafer demand continued to increase, major manufacturers can fully utilize production line and allow price to be revised upward. Furthermore, there are supply shortage issues for high-efficiency multi-si wafers. As indicated by EnergyTrend's investigation, most Taiwan manufacturers have started to look for outsourcing opportunities in December, 2013 in order to fulfil the large demand. After going through a preparation period, wafer manufacturers have also made price adjustment in 4Q13. Average price in January, 2014 is projected to be $0.98-1.02/piece.

Multi-Si Wafer Price Trend from July to December, 2013

Multi-Si Wafer Price Trend from July to December, 2013

As indicated by EnergyTrend's data, multi-si wafer price increased by 4.2 percent in 2H13, which brought certain pressure to cell manufacturers' cost. Gross margin for module manufacturers was about 10 percent. Relevant manufacturers believe clients can still handle the rising cost pressure. It's a must to revise the price upward. Thus, major manufacturers are planning to increase prices by $0.01/W, while other manufacturers will target a $0.005/W increase.

Cell Price Trend from July to December, 2013

Cell Price Trend from July to December, 2013

Judging from the spot market, overall market condition is suitable for price to be adjusted upward. EnergyTrend believes the price from poly to cell will continue to increase in the short run, but the increased range may be different. Demand in other regions is also strong, which raises the price simultaneously. This week's average price comes to $18.498/kg, a 3.4 percent rise. For multi-si wafers, supply shortage remains for high-efficiency products. Also, manufacturers have revised the price upward, which causes spot price to continuously rise. This week's average price reaches $0.954/piece, a 3.58 percent rise. For mono-si wafers, this week's average price is raised to $1.154/piece, a 0.52 percent rise. For cells, market demand and utilization rate remain high. Raw material cost significantly increases, thus manufacturers slightly revise cell price upward to test clients' reaction. This week's average price comes to $0.389/W, a 0.26 percent rise. For modules, average price is still showing a sight downtrend. Yet, recent price is more stable. It's projected that price will remain the same or slightly increase in the short run, with this week's average price being $0.66/W, a 0.15 percent drop.

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