FocusAsia polysilicon makers cut offers on China’s tariff delays

18 April 2013 06:32  [Source: ICIS news]

By Felicia Loo

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--A majority of solar polysilicon producers in Asia have shaved their offers as China delayed in firming up a decision on antidumping duties (ADDs) on imports, leading to softer prices of the solar feedstock, market sources said on Thursday.

As the situation is political, Beijing will like to monitor the decision of the EU first before meting out the ADDs on imported polysilicon into the country, they added.

Meanwhile, the EU is carrying out its own antidumping investigations on Chinese solar imports to the region. As such, the buying interest on polysilicon in China wanes along with softening downstream solar wafer prices, the market participants said.

“The longer it [the decision] stretches, it will cause more fluctuations in prices,” said one market participant.

The repeated delays by the Chinese government in reaching a decision on the issue have been slowing down spot trades for the product that is the raw material for making solar wafers, cells and modules.

There is widespread speculation that China may eventually impose a penalty tariff of around 30% on imported polysilicon from the US and South Korea.

The decision may materialise sometime in June, the market participants said.

The spot polysilicon offers drifted lower to $16.50-18.00/kg (€13-14/tonne) FOB (free on board) NE (northeast) Asia in the week, down from $19-20/kg FOB NE Asia previously, they added.

In China, spot offers fell by yuan (CNY) 5,000/tonne ($810/tonne) to around CNY130,000/tonne DEL (delivered) China.

The spot polysilicon prices in Asia declined by $1/tonne in the week ended 17 April to $15-18/kg FOB NE Asia, while the domestic Chinese polysilicon price fell by CNY5,000/tonne at the upper end to CNY123,000-130,000/tonne DEL China, according to ICIS data.

China imported 7,991 tonnes of polysilicon in February, up 5% year-on-year and 18% higher from January, official data showed.  The country remains a net importer of the product, with exports in February totalling 376 tonnes.

A few downstream solar makers in China also resorted to offloading polysilicon inventories in response to softer demand, weaker downstream wafer prices, as well as the difficulties in obtaining bank loans, the market participants said.

Meanwhile, some companies are heard mixing material of 6N, 9N polysilicon and even semiconductor scrap material, they added. Ingot is being made via this mix and slice wafer, with the apparent effect of boosting the solar efficiencies.

The EU is tightening the monitoring of solar products being exported from China to help its own dumping investigation.

The EU started registering some solar products coming from China from 6 March to see if such products are hurting solar companies in the EU.

The registration process was started exactly six months after the EU launched an anti-dumping probe on 6 September 2012.

The EU will announce the preliminary determination of the anti-dumping and countervailing probe of solar products originating in China on 5 June and 7 August 2013, respectively.

($1 = €0.77 / $1 = CNY6.17)

By: Felicia Loo

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