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Home Industry News Recent PCB Market and Status of Materials Such as Copper Clad Laminates

Recent PCB Market and Status of Materials Such as Copper Clad Laminates

  • November 18, 2021

Recently, the domestic PCB industry has continued to release signs of recovery, and the market’s upward trend has strengthened.

In fact, due to the impact of the price increase of upstream materials, PCB companies have been under pressure for a long time, and life is not easy. As time enters the fourth quarter, the upward trend in the price of upstream raw materials has weakened.

The rhythm of copper clad laminate prices has slowed down

As we all know, there are many types of raw materials required for PCB production. Among them, the cost of copper clad laminate (CCL) accounts for the highest proportion. In the cost of CCL, glass fiber cloth, copper foil, and epoxy resin together account for more than 70%.

According to Primark statistics, copper clad laminates account for about 30% of PCB costs, and manufacturing costs and direct labor each account for about 20%. In the cost composition of copper clad laminates, due to the different thickness of copper clad plates, the proportion of raw materials in the cost is slightly different. On the whole, glass fiber cloth accounts for 25%-40%, resin costs 25%-30%, and copper foil 30% %~50%.

Undoubtedly, the continuous price increase of copper clad laminates is the main source of cost pressure for circuit board manufacturers.

Some brokerage analysts pointed out that the price of copper clad laminates increased by 20% in the first quarter of this year, and continued to increase prices by 30% in the first two months of the second quarter. The price increase of some thick plates has basically doubled, and thin plates have also increased by 30%. -50% increase.

PCB companies’ cost transfer is relatively lagging, resulting in damage to their performance in multiple quarters. Among them, hard-board companies that use more copper, especially automotive hard-board companies, have the greatest impact on their profitability (because automotive hard-boards mostly use thick copper, and order bargaining) The cycle is long, and the transfer speed is slower than that of communications and consumer electronics).

After entering the third quarter of 2021, the price increase pace of various copper clad laminate manufacturers has slowed down significantly, and only a few manufacturers have slightly increased the prices of some products. Professionals expect that with the gradual stabilization of upstream raw material prices and the release of copper clad laminate production capacity, the price of copper clad laminates will gradually stabilize.

Western Securities analyst Luo Yamei also reminded that upstream CCL manufacturers have shifted most of the cost pressure to PCB manufacturers since the second half of 2020, and continued price increases are limited.

However, as to whether there will be subsequent price increases for copper clad laminates, some brokerage analysts said: "The pressure on PCB costs in the fourth quarter is still there. As for whether there will be price increases, it is still uncertain. It is not recommended to pre-set CCL costs significantly. improve."

Copper prices stabilize + new production capacity release, copper foil prices may loosen

Copper foil directly and indirectly accounts for 22% of the total PCB cost. The "copper price + processing fee" pricing model prevailed in the copper foil industry. One part is the main raw material of PCB copper foil-cathode copper, which corresponds to the upstream spot copper price, and the other part is the processing fee. Among them, the purchase cost of copper accounts for about 77% of the total cost of copper foil, which is the main factor influencing the price of copper foil.

The current copper price is still more than 9,000 US dollars/ton, but the overall price has not risen sharply. From the perspective of the price of imported copper for PCBs in my country, the price has gradually stabilized after experiencing a slight increase. We expect that with the gradual release of supply-side production capacity in the future, copper prices will gradually stabilize.

In terms of market demand, due to the outbreak of lithium battery demand, the supply of copper foil is in short supply, and the cost of new lithium battery copper foil production lines is too high. Therefore, some copper foil manufacturers actively adjust their product structure and use the flexible space of production capacity to increase their profit levels. Shifting to the production of lithium battery copper foil, the supply of standard copper foil has been correspondingly reduced, while the demand for copper clad laminates continues to rise, and the supply-demand relationship has become increasingly tense.

Orders from copper foil companies are booming, and processing fees are rising. According to SMM Shanghai Nonferrous Metals Network, in October 2021, the processing fee for 8μm lithium battery copper foil is about 36,300 yuan/ton, and the processing fee for 6μm copper foil is 46,300 yuan/ton. Due to the strong downstream market demand, the copper foil processing fee is still on the rise .

However, according to industry chain research, some large copper foil manufacturers such as Chaohua Technology and Copper Crown Copper Foil have implemented expansion plans. After 2021Q3, copper foil manufacturers will invest in new production capacity of standard copper foil. In 2021, Q4 will be fully released. With the stability of copper prices, it is expected that copper foil prices will loosen in 2021.

The cost of epoxy resin production slows down

Starting from the middle of this year, driven by factors such as rising costs, dual control of energy consumption and power shortages leading to supply constraints, the chemical product price index has continued to rise to a new high in the past decade, and most chemical product prices have reached historical highs or even new highs.

However, since the second half of the fourth quarter, the prices of energy products represented by coal and natural gas have fallen sharply, the impact of supply-side power and production restrictions has weakened, and production capacity has been slowly expanding and has become more and more intense. The upstream cost pressure has eased with the decline in coal prices, and the price index of chemical products has been reduced. Rush up and fall back.

According to reports, the price of epichlorohydrin was RMB 17,666/ton, down RMB 1,315/ton from the previous week, and the price of bisphenol A was RMB 16,350/ton, down RMB 1,599/ton from the previous week. A petrochemical company in East China bid 15,500 yuan/ton, the market offer fell sharply, and the intention to offer is around 16,000 yuan/ton. There may still be room for negotiation of the actual order.

As the growth rate of epichlorohydrin slows down and the price of bisphenol A fluctuates lower, the growth rate of epoxy resin production costs slows down. On November 16, the Huangshan solid epoxy resin market was operating weakly, and the mainstream negotiating price for new orders in the local area was 24,500-25,000 yuan/ton. On November 17, the liquid epoxy resin market in East China weakened and was adjusted down by about 500 yuan/ton, and the negotiated offer was 29,500-30,500 yuan/ton in barrels.

Electronic fiberglass cloth is expected to gradually return to a reasonable level

In 2021, benefiting from the good recovery from the domestic epidemic, the demand for wind power, new energy, home appliances and other industries is strong, and the fundamentals of the glass fiber industry continue to improve.

According to Zhuo Chuang Information, the actual market price of electronic yarn G75 in July 2020 is 7800-7900 yuan/ton, and the price of some mid-to-high-end products is relatively high; the mainstream price of electronic cloth is around 3.2 yuan/m. With the tension between supply and demand, the price of glass fiber continues to rise. As of early July 2021, the average price of G75 electronic yarn has reached 17,000 yuan/ton, a cumulative increase of about 115%; the mainstream price of electronic cloth is 8.7-8.8 yuan/meter, and the price of individual small households It can reach 9.0 yuan/m, a cumulative increase of 175%.

However, driven by high profitability, companies have a strong desire to expand production. According to the company's official website, Honghe Technology, China Jushi, and Taishan Fiberglass will add about 220,000 to 250,000 tons of electronic yarn production capacity from 2021 to 2022. In the long run, the price of glass fiber yarn is expected to drive the electronic cloth to gradually return to a reasonable level.

PCB downstream demand picks up

In terms of downstream demand, the annual target of 5G base stations is 600,000, but only 31% of the annual target was completed in the first half of the year. The construction of base stations fell short of expectations, causing PCB company performance to be under pressure. However, the centralized procurement of 5G base stations by domestic operators has started in June-July 2021, and orders are intensively landed. The pace of 5G construction in the second half of the year is expected to gradually accelerate, which will drive the prosperity of the upstream PCB industry chain to rebound.

According to the calculation of the Foresight Industry Research Institute, the size of the domestic 5G base station market space market will continue to rise from 2020 to 22, and will reach 199.8 billion yuan in 2022.

In the domestic market, assuming that the number of domestic 5G macro base stations is about 1.2-1.5 times that of 4G base stations, the total number of 5G macro base stations is expected to exceed 5 million and micro base stations are expected to exceed 10 million. According to calculations, the total output value of domestic 5G base station PCB is about 108 billion yuan, and the current 5G base station PCB still has 4-5 times the space.

The server market has also improved significantly.

The server industry is greatly affected by the upstream CPU update iterations. With Intel and AMD intensively launching Ice Lake, Sapphire Rapids, Milan, Genoa and other CPUs, it stimulates the iterative replacement of enterprise client servers and drives the server PCB industry's prosperity. After the platform upgrade, corresponding to the PCB material upgrade + the increase of the number of layers + the increase of the process complexity, the value of the single terminal is expected to increase. According to estimates, the server PCB market is estimated to be USD 8 billion in 2024, and the CAGR for 2020-24 is about +10.79%.

In addition, new energy vehicles have become another incremental factor.

As the automobile boom has improved after the epidemic, new energy vehicles have quickly recovered. According to data from Marklines and SNE Research, global electric vehicle sales in 2021 may reach 5.6 million. In addition, the current trend of electrification and intelligentization of automobiles is obvious, which will drive the volume and price of PCBs for automobiles to rise.

According to CICC International Consulting, the average PCB consumption per traditional car is about 1 square meter, mainly with 2-6 layers, and the value is about US$60. The value of the PCB of the new energy smart car is about 5 times that of the traditional car. The gradual penetration of new energy smart cars will bring about USD 2.0-3.2 billion of incremental space for global automotive PCBs. According to Prismark, the global automotive PCB output value in 2020 is 6.2 billion U.S. dollars, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.0% from 2020 to 24, reaching 8.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2024.

Generally speaking, the current PCB industry demand is relatively strong, and the previously rising raw material prices continue to increase prices have limited motivation, and corporate profitability has generally increased. In addition, new energy vehicles, servers and other fields are also expected to increase the PCB market space. In addition, Meta Universe next year The expected landing of consumer electronics in the direction, the circuit board industry is expected to be booming.

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