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Solar sector stocks make light gains in Hong Kong trading

Hong Kong-listed solar panel makers receive boost from Merkel's diplomatic remarks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 3:05am

Hong Kong-listed solar sector stocks chalked up small gains yesterday after German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel said the European Union and the mainland should engage in talks to try to resolve their dispute over solar power panels.

But an analyst said that while Merkel's comments may ease the antagonism between European and mainland solar panel manufacturers, her remarks on Thursday would not count for much since she was speaking in Beijing.

"She is saying this in Beijing so she sounded soft, reasonable and face-giving for the Chinese … she would be taken more seriously if she said the same thing in Germany," said Macquarie Securities analyst Patrick Dai. "What she said is no indication the dispute will not be elevated later after the pleasantries."

In July, EU solar component makers asked the European Commission to formally investigate their mainland rivals after filing a complaint over what they said was illegal selling of products at below-cost prices. The commission must decide on the complaint by September 6.

In Hong Kong, shares of Jiangsu province-based GCL-Poly Energy - the world's largest maker of polysilicon and solar wafers, used in the manufacture of solar panels - edged up 1.7 per cent to HK$1.19 yesterday. Liaoning province-based wafer maker Solargiga Energy rose 1.3 per cent to 39.5 HK cents. The Hang Seng Index fell 0.4 per cent.

Shares in New York-listed Suntech Power Holdings - a Jiangsu-based maker of solar cells and modules - fell 8.2 per cent, and Hebei province-based modules maker Yingli Green Energy Holding slid 10.3 per cent on Thursday, a day after Yingli cut its forecast on shipments.

Solar materials and panel makers in the EU, the United States, and the mainland have reported deepening losses and some have become bankrupt due to rampant building of production capacity on the mainland and falling solar power subsidies in the EU.

The mainland exported US$20.4 billion of solar products to the EU last year, and imported US$764 million of polysilicon and US$360 million of silver paste from Germany, Xinhua reported. The mainland imported €40 billion (HK$389.85 billion) of solar components machines from the EU on an accumulated basis.

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