According to market research firm IHS polysilicon spot market prices are set to climb this month and through March 2013.
Spot market polysilicon volumes have declined significantly since a peak in May 2012 when the spot market accounted for 47% of total polysilicon sales due to producers selling from inventory due to overcapacity and weak demand.
According to IHS the spot market accounted for only 20% of total polysilicon sales in December 2012, indicating the lack of inventory overhang and a consequence of plummeting prices that forced the vast majority of small producers to shut plants when prices fell well below manufacturing costs.
“As IHS predicted in November, solar polysilicon pricing in early 2013 is nearing the end of its long, 24-month decline,” said Dr. Henning Wicht, director and principal analyst, photovoltaics, for IHS. “The drop in spot market volume, along with a range of other indicators, suggest that the price plunge that hamstrung polysilicon supplier profits throughout 2012 will soon come to an end.”
IHS said that polysilicon supply was finally adjusting to reduced sales, though cautioned that demand was expected to increase only modestly in 2013, keeping a lid on price rises as well as suppliers' ability to re-enter the market as prices would need to be in the US$25/kg range to be profitable.