China's polysilicon imports jumped during the first eight months of 2012 but prices slid, further squeezing profit margins for domestic companies, official data have indicated.
China imported 56,000 tonnes of polysilicon, a raw material used to make solar cells, in the first eight months, up 32.8 percent year on year, with import prices averaging 26.92 U.S. dollars per kilogram, down 54.2 percent compared with last year's average import prices, according to a statement posted on the website of the General Administration of Customs.
The Republic of Korea (ROK), the United States and Germany accounted for 87.8 percent of China's polysilicon imports in August.
However, the average import prices from the ROK and Germany fell from the previous month to 23.33 U.S. dollars per kilo and 29.1 U.S. dollars per kilo, respectively, according to the statement.
China has seen rising polysilicon imports and falling import prices for almost a year. "The imports, which were sold at lower prices than locally produced polysilicon, have severely affected China's domestic polysilicon business, forcing companies to cut or halt production," said an analyst with China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.
China has been suffering an overcapacity of polysilicon following massive investment in the sector after polysilicon prices peaked four years ago.
Customs data showed that China only exported 166 tonnes of polysilicon in August, bringing total exports in the first eight months to 897 tonnes, mainly due to waning demand in Europe.