Solar cell prices hold steady in quiet market

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.

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.