Solar cell prices hold steady in quiet market

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Market activity quieted down in the Chinese cell market as most market participants stood on the sidelines unsure if prices had bottomed out. Demand remained tepid as most market participants were not in an urgency to replenish cargoes.

The majority of cell manufacturers are facing cash flow problems and although wafer prices have reached an all-time low, these cash-strapped cell manufacturers were unable to take advantage of the lower wafer prices to build up their wafer inventories, a market veteran said.

Integrated manufacturers who had previously produced their own solar cells were more inclined to acquire cells from the market now as buying cells was cheaper compared to in-house production, the source added.

Some cell manufacturers have turned to OEM manufacturing to maintain operating rates despite production losses. The fee of M10 TOPCon cells OEM cell manufacturing had fallen to CNY1.4 ($0.19)/pc which is below the production costs of CNY1.6/pc, a market veteran said.

OPIS assessed the FOB China Mono PERC M10 prices stable at $0.0390/W,  FOB China Mono PERC G12 prices are unchanged at $0.0414/W while FOB China TOPCon M10 prices were assessed lower by 1.73% at $0.0398/W, week-to-week.

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High inventories are expected to exert further downward pressure on cell prices in the coming weeks even if cell manufacturers reduce operating rates in a bid to restore supply and demand balance. Moreover, module manufacturers are expected to reduce their operating rates further in June and this would result in less demand for cells.

China cell production in May stood at 62 GW, according to the Silicon Industry of China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.

In the Chinese domestic market, Mono PERC M10 cells were priced at about CNY 0.313/W while TOPCon M10 cells stood at about CNY0.320/W, according to OPIS market survey.

OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides energy prices, news, data, and analysis on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG/NGL, coal, metals, and chemicals, as well as renewable fuels and environmental commodities. It acquired pricing data assets from Singapore Solar Exchange in 2022 and now publishes the OPIS APAC Solar Weekly Report.

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