Chinese Makers Boost Polysilicon Output on Tariff Concern

Chinese polysilicon makers led by GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. and Daqo New Energy Corp. are ramping up production as imports decline amid concerns about retroactive tariffs on the raw material for solar panels.

Daqo expects to deliver almost one-third more polysilicon in the second quarter than in the first, said investor relations manager Kevin He. GCL-Poly also increased production in the quarter, Lv Jinbiao, deputy manager of the company’s polysilicon unit, said July 1 without giving details.

China, the biggest maker of solar panels, is preparing anti-dumping duties on polysilicon imports it judges to have been sold below cost, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said in May. The Ministry of Commerce has said it’s determining whether penalties should be set retroactively on suppliers from the U.S., the European Union and South Korea. Imports dropped to the lowest in six months in May.

May imports were closer to actual demand after buyers stockpiled the material when prices were low, said Wang Xiaoting, a Beijing-based analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Spot prices are about $16.9 a kilogram and will keep stable in July.”

ReneSola Ltd. on July 1 said it revived production at its Sichuan polysilicon plant with an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons after adding new furnaces and hydrochlorination technology. The Jiashan, Zhejiang-based company suspended manufacturing in November.

U.S. Probe

Daqo brought its 5,000-ton Xinjiang facility to full production in the second quarter, Kevin He said. “Prices won’t drop in the short term. Imports declined as tariff concerns mounted and will remain at the May levels until the trade dispute is resolved.”

Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. of the U.S. and Germany’s Wacker Chemie AG are among suppliers China suspects of dumping. The probe follows a U.S. inquiry into Chinese panel suppliers begun in 2011 and by the EU in 2012 after falling prices led to the collapse of companies including Fremont, California-based Solyndra LLC. Chinese tariffs will probably buoy prices of polysilicon, which have dropped about 25 percent in the last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

GCL-Poly’s first-quarter output fell 29 percent to 8,654 tons from the previous year, the company said in May. “The average spot price may be higher in the second half,” said Lv, who is deputy manager of the company’s Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon Technology Development Co.

China imported 5,859 tons of polysilicon in May, a 19 percent drop from a month earlier and the lowest since November, according to data from the General Administration of China Customs.

“The total Chinese polysilicon imports in the first five months have increased with lower prices, thus dumping from foreign suppliers continues,” said Liu Jing, an analyst from the China Nonferrous Metals Industrial Association, a trade group that advises the government.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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