Shares of photovoltaic firms rallied sharply in Hong Kong on Monday, in response to the European Commission's ending of restrictions on sales of solar panels from China starting from midnight.
GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd rose 11.32 percent to 59 HK cents (7.5 U.S. cents), while Xinyi Solar and Flat Glass Group Co Ltd surged by 3.85 percent to HK$2.43 (0.3 U.S. dollars), and 4.03 percent to HK$1.29 (0.2 U.S. dollars) respectively.
Last Friday, the European Commission announced that it would not extend trade defense measures on solar panels from China after rejecting the European Union industry's request for an expiry review investigation.
After having been in place for almost five years, the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on solar panels from China would expire at midnight on Monday, the European Commission said in a statement.
An analyst said the ending of the EU's restrictions would benefit China's solar panel companies starting from the fourth quarter of this year.
"The EU's decision to scrap minimum import price restrictions on China would help facilitate Chinese solar exports to the EU market, as well as reduce solar product prices in the EU and stimulate demand," said Alex Liu, China utilities, renewable energy and environmental services analyst at UBS Securities.
"It will promote faster solar grid parity in the EU leading to more unsubsidized solar projects, and the termination could also lead to the scrapping of Section 201 tariffs by the US on solar imports, as well as related tariffs in other countries."
The European Commission's new move has been well received among Chinese solar power companies. Qian Jing, vice-president of Jinko-Solar Holding Co Ltd, the world's biggest solar panel producer by shipments, said the end of the restrictions benefits the entire sector, and serves as a great example of trade liberalization.
"The original solar capacity overseas cannot meet the strong demand from the European and US markets, and if the domestic capacity can be offered to Europe, more overseas capacity can be released to satisfy the US market," she said.
Qian was echoed by Leon Chuang, global marketing director of Risen Energy, who said that the price of solar cells and modules is expected to fall slightly in the second half of this year.
"Considering the European market tends to be conservative and stable, the end of the EU's restrictions won't affect demand this year," he said.
"However, starting from next year, demand in the European market will be higher than the originally anticipated figure due to price cuts."
According to the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, the EU's ending of the restrictions will bring some benefits to the domestic PV industry chain.
The EU first imposed antidumping and anti-subsidy measures for Chinese solar panels, wafers and cells in 2013 and extended them by 18 months last March, signaling that they should then end. According to the European Commission, viewing from the market situation, after the MIP is due in September, there is no reason to extend the policy.
The Ministry of Commerce welcomed the end of restrictions, describing the move as a "model for successfully resolving trade frictions through consultations".