Immediate Price Impact from CNY Depreciation

Immediate Price Impact from CNY Depreciation

May 8, 2019

The attempts of major solar panel makers to raise the price quotes in the US and Europe have some success this week, but weak CNY has dragged down solar panel prices in China, due to the recent turmoil on trade war. In China, although NDRC had released the policy last week, it is not generous enough for project developers to accept the current price to move forward their projects. Moreover, due to the CNY depreciation, the stable price quite in CNY term has been translated the drop in the USD term. On the other hand, the persistent tight supply continues to improve solar panel prices in the US, following the rising speculation of increasing US demand and the uncertain atmosphere around the US-China trade war.

With the limited improvement in solar panel prices, the room for solar cell makers to hike prices further has been greatly reduced. Since downstream solar panel makers could hardly to keep their profits under the current module prices, high solar cell prices become a huge burden for solar panel makers. Moreover, the retrieval of production utilization also helps to ease the supply shortage and further hinders the price growth. On the other hand, solar cell makers actually sense the weakening appetite from the buyers, and some start to comply with some discounts during their price negotiations. Such scenario is applicable for both multi-crystalline cell and mono-crystalline cells, leading both prices stagnate or even slightly lower this week. Moreover, with RMB depreciation, solar cell in China has dropped more obviously in dollar term. As for solar cells in overseas, prices remain stable this week, but confront with coming pressures, as buying interests decline. As the result, solar cell prices drop slightly, as buyers are reluctant to accept the current price and the depreciation of RMB also drags overall solar cell prices in China down in USD term.

Multi-crystalline wafer price uptrend eventually reversed this week as mainly impacted by RMB depreciation, whereas mono-crystalline wafer prices continue to improve slightly, due to the continuous supply shortage. For mono-crystalline wafers, because the supply shortage still exists, some major Chinese mono-crystalline wafer makers are still able to raise prices this week. On the other hand, all major multi-crystalline wafer suppliers keep their price quotes stable in RMB term in China and in USD term out of China. Nevertheless, as RMB weakens, multi-crystalline wafer has reflected a drop in dollar term, while partial price improvement of mono-crystalline wafers in RMB term is hindered in dollar term.

Intriguingly, polysilicon prices continue to improve slightly this week. The demand for polysilicon is solid, as wafer makers retrieve their production utilization rates to full. The supply, however, are unable to fulfill the demand immediately due to the lingering impacts from earlier annual maintenance by some major polysilicon makers. The tight supply situation enables Chinese polysilicon makers to drive up polysilicon prices in China although the price improvement in USD is partially hindered by RMB depreciation. Meanwhile, non-Chinese polysilicon makers witness slight increase in prices, but the price increase has also slowed down. In addition, the recent news that Chinese government is planning to review anti-dumping tariff against Korean polysilicon suppliers has further spurred the speculation of even tighter polysilicon supply in China.