Despite tariffs on foreign polysilicon, Chinese imports of the material hit a record high in January. The top three nations of origin were Korea, Germany and Taiwan, with 5,900, 3,500 and 1,400 tons respectively. Imports from Korea alone represented 48% of the total and were 11% higher than last month.
Due to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on U.S. polysilicon, imports directly from America have fallen significantly since last July, while U.S. exporters choose to use Taiwan as transfer station, which in turn caused imports from Taiwan to increase. Calculations show the total volume of imports from the United States and Taiwan has remained stable at about 1,800 tons.
Duties are very low on Korean polysilicon producers. The main exporters, OCI and Hankook Silicon, are only subject to duties of 2.4% and 2.8% respectively. As such, they cannot stop entering the largest market at all. Beginning in May 2014, Korea has been the top exporter of polysilicon to China.
Prices are also dropping, except from polysilicon from the United States. The average price for imports from Korea dropped for the first time to below US$13 per kilogram (kg) to $12.99 per kg. From Germany prices are around $15.50 per kg. Meanwhile, the average prices for the whole 2015 of imports from Korea and Germany are respectively $16.30 and $20.20 per kg.
Due to the punitive tariff on imports from the United States, the average price increased greatly to $43.70 per kg and focused on long-term orders.
Chinese officials also reported 780 tons of polysilicon exports in January, 50% more than in December 2015.