FocusChina’s polysilicon prices slide on weak demand, rising supply

25 April 2013 05:51  [Source: ICIS news]

By Felicia Loo

Solar power plant in SpainSINGAPORE (ICIS)--China’s solar polysilicon prices are expected to slide further because of rising supply and weakening demand as a result of  trading uncertainty over the country’s repeated delays on penalty tariff legislation on imports, market participants said on Thursday.

Chinese spot prices of polysilicon fell by yuan (CNY) 2,000-3,000/tonne ($323-485/tonne) to CNY120,000-128,000/tonne DEL (delivered) China in the week ended 24 April, while regional polysilicon prices were unchanged at $15-18/kg FOB (free on board) NE (northeast) Asia, according to ICIS.

Chinese wafer makers by and large, are shunning the spot market in acquiring the solar polysilicon feedstock, market participants said.

Solar-grade polysilicon - which is usually traded in chunks, granules and rods - is the raw material for making solar wafers, ingots, cells and modules.

“The ADD [anti-dumping duties] picture is unclear and buyers are unwilling to commit further,” said one participant, on the condition of anonymity.

Demand has been dented as China repeatedly delayed its decision on imposing anti-dumping duties on polysilicon imports because the country awaits the legislation of the EU’s own antidumping investigations on Chinese solar imports to the region, which is expected to firm up by early June, market participants said.

In China, each piece of solar wafer for 156mm2 now costs CNY8.10 as opposed to CNY8.30-8.50/piece previously. Many wafer makers are shunning spot buying of polysilicon, drawing down their own stockpiles and they only buy the material on a need-to basis, they added.

As the China’s ADD decision was being delayed, many Chinese mid-tier polysilicon makers resisted plans to restart their plants which have been shut since the fourth quarter of 2011, the market participants said.

The initial euphoria of ADDs on imported polysilicon, which will mean higher costs of imports that will drive up demand for locally-produced polysilicon, died down, casting an air of uncertainty, they said.

Earlier this year, there was a rush in spot buying in China in anticipation of the ADDs to be rolled out in March, and then later to April and eventually, there was no official news on when the announcement will be made, participants said.

“The market is unclear about the legislation,” one market participant said.

Meanwhile, 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.

($1 = CNY6.18)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

By: Felicia Loo

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