Taiwan-based PV wafer and cell producers are already seeing the benefits from the US anti-dumping duty case, for which the US Department of Commerce has yet to make its final determination on possible countervailing import duties against Chinese PV module producers. According to Jefferies investment bank, sales at Taiwanese solar cell producers have rebounded 29% since the beginning of the year, after sales plummeted as overcapacity and subsequent weak demand resulted in many posting their lowest sales for more than two years.
A group of publicly traded Taiwanese PV producers, which include E-Ton, Motech, Mosel, Neo Solar Power, Solartech and Gintech, all saw increased sales in January that averaged 11.8% and averaged a further 15.4% in February.
Jefferies pointed to the increased sales activity as confirmation that China-based PV producers were concerned over the possibility of US anti-dumping duties and had increased purchases from Taiwan in an effort to overcome any duties yet to be imposed on China-produced cells and modules.
Several Chinese PV producers that have already released full-year 2011 results cited strong demand from Europe and the US in the later part of the fourth quarter, but had been able to meet some of the demand from inventory within the supply chain, despite having cut production in the third quarter.
Inventory levels for some ended lower than usual, which could also explain part of the rebound in sales of Taiwanese firms supplying to Chinese PV producers as well as customers in Europe and other regions.
However, many Chinese players had previously indicated that one of the strategies to limit the looming duties was to use solar cells from Taiwan for US module shipments.