Polysilicon prices drop 11 percent

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The latest IHS iSuppli PV Perspective Market Brief and the Polysilicon Price Index have shown that ASPs for polysilicon used in photovoltaic cells dropped from $30.70 in March, to $27.20 in April. "Pricing fell mainly due to larger volumes of sales on the spot market compared to contract deals," says IHS iSuppli.

Overall, spot prices ranged from $19.50 per kilogram (/kg) to $30/kg. In comparison, long term agreement (LTA) contract prices ranged from $18.50 to $37/kg; the ASP was $29.40. This translates into a decline of nine percent for spot market prices, and 7.8 percent for LTAs.

The company adds that the number of trades seen on the spot market increased by 22 percent in the time period, meaning in April, it accounted for 44 percent of polysilicon shipment volume, in comparison to 36 percent in March. This trend is set to stay, says senior photovoltaics analyst, Glenn Gu. Prices are also expected to keep on their downward trajectory.

"Polysilicon buyers are flocking to the spot market, attracted by the lower prices compared to contracts," he explained, adding, "This phenomenon is driving down contract pricing, causing the sharp decline in the overall ASP in April. Spot market activity is expected to continue accelerating relative to the contact segment during the coming months, placing further pressure on pricing."

Looking ahead, IHS iSuppli predicts that prices for photovoltaic polysilicon will reach 3.7 billion in 2012, down from $7.4 billion in 2011.

In related news, China-based ReneSola said last week that it is targeting polysilicon costs of around $22/kg – in line with IHS iSuppli’s announcement in April that prices will fall to $22/kg by the end of the year.