Polysilicon spot prices rise above $20 per kilogram in China

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Chinese prices for polysilicon are rising, as earlier predicted, according to the latest analysis by EnergyTrend. The Taiwanese market analysis firm reported late last week that the average spot price for polysilicon has risen to above RMB130 (US$20) per kilogram, as domestic suppliers and certain importers struggle to supply a market where most Western producers have been shut out.

China has imposed import duties on polysilicon from the United States, Europe and South Korea, and EnergyTrend finds that in early April Chinese authorities imposed stricter control over imports by reviewing foreign sources. This is unlikely to affect polysilicon produced by Korea’s OCI, as the duties imposed on the company were so low as to be meaningless.

An analysis by EnergyTrend finds that Korean polysilicon made up nearly half of China’s Q1 imports of roughly 34,000 metric tons, with German polysilicon making up the bulk of the remainder. Germany’s Wacker Chemie has unilaterally negotiated a minimum import price with the Chinese government, which allows it to continue selling into the nation duty-free.

China’s new enforcement is underway as the nation’s multicrystalline silicon wafer makers continue to produce at very high capacity utilization rates and aggressively expand capacity, which is intensifying demand for polysilicon. EnergyTrend also notes that as most May orders have been settled, it expects Chinese polysilicon prices to continue rising through the first half of May.

The trend of rising polysilicon prices comes as prices in most of the rest of the value chain, including wafers, cells and modules, remains depressed, with the exception of monocrystalline wafers.