Polysilicon prices to peak at around US$23/kg, says Bernreuter Research

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The recovery in polysilicon prices to above US$20/kg since the beginning of the year are set to peak soon at around the US$23/kg mark, according to specialist polysilicon market research firm, Bernreuter Research.

Citing delays in the ramp of new polysilicon plants in 2014, coupled to increased demand from China, the polysilicon spot price will rise for a short period but as new plant expansions begin later in the year, pricing is set to fall and could decline to around US$18/kg range, depending on end market demand.

“We expect the spot price to climb up to US$23/kg from the current $21/kg before it will drop to a range of $18 to $20/kg by the end of 2014,” said Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research. “We assume that only 10,000 to 15,000MT of the new capacities will become effective by the end of 2014. Hence, oversupply will not be an issue this year, but return in 2015.”

According to previous capacity expansion projections by Bernreuter earlier this year, total new polysilicon capacity coming online in 2014 was said to have been around 66,000MT. However, all of the key expansion plans have been delayed for one reason or another.

Bernreuter noted that Hanwha Chemical’s first 10,000MT plant started ramping in late 2013 but has since had ramp difficulties, though the issues were not cited.

Tokuyama’s new 6,200MT facility in Malaysia was said to have suffered problems with equipment and had consequently suspended trial production operations. The initial phase was said to be allocated to produce electronic-grade polysilicon for the semiconductor industry but the second 13,800MT phase would be targeting less demanding specifications for solar grade polysilicon.

As documented by PV Tech previously, SMP, a joint venture of SunEdison with Samsung Fine Chemicals in South Korea, has experienced delays in ramping its 10,000MT FBR plant.

Bernreuter also noted that Daqo New Energy’s expansion from 6,150MT to 12,150MT by the end of 2014, would only ramp-up at the start of 2015, while OCI’s 10,000 MT de-bottlenecking project would not be completed until the third quarter of 2015.

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