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China’s Polysilicon Makers Double in 2013 as Price Increases

The number of polysilicon makers in China, the world’s biggest supplier of solar panels, more than doubled to 15 last year as prices climbed.

The nation produced 84,000 metric tons of the raw material, used in most solar panels, in 2013, an 18.3 percent increase from a year earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement posted on its website yesterday. At the beginning of last year, the country had seven manufacturers.

The commodity price jumped 15 percent last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That prompted some Chinese polysilicon makers to restart production after suspending output as prices started to tumble in 2011, said Wang Xiaoting, a Hong Kong-based analyst from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Some companies restarted production to prepare for a further increase in prices, while those, which have been operating such as GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd, may produce in a full capacity this year,” she said. Polysilicon output in China may reach 110,000 tons to 120,000 tons in 2014, Wang estimates.

Chinese panel output increased 13 percent to 26 gigawatts in 2013, equivalent to more than 60 percent of global production, the ministry said. The average spot price of polysilicon has risen 17 percent this year, according to data from London-based BNEF.

China’s solar industry will see a recovery in 2014 and prices of polysilicon and cells will stabilize, the ministry forecast. Key companies may report full-year profit as the domestic market continues to expand, it said.

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