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Japan-Korea Trade Spat and Toshiba Blackout Hike DRAM Prices by 20 Percent

Prices of DRAM shot up by 20 percent as Japan put in place export curbs that restrict high-technology exports to South Korea, and as Toshiba recovers from a power blackout that temporarily halted production. This could impact prices of end-user products such as PC memory modules, or consumer electronics, such as smartphones, in the coming weeks, as inventories either dry up, or are marked-up at various stages of the supply-chain. The memory industry is inter-dependent between fabrication and packaging units spread across South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Memory and flash industry observer DRAMeXchange reported that spot-pricing of 8-gigabit DDR4 DRAM chips, which is used as a benchmark for DRAM pricing as a whole, closed at USD $3.74 at the end of trading on Friday (19/07). It's up 14.6 percent week-over-week, and 23 percent up pricing as on 5th July. An industry observer who spoke with KBS World notes that the recent hikes are not directly infuenced by the trade-spat between Japan and Korea, but rather a power blackout experienced at a Toshiba DRAM manufacturing facility last month. The observer noted that if the trade-spat affects production at Samsung Electronics or SK Hynix, DRAM prices could "skyrocket."

Trendforce: DRAM Pricing Could Fall Up to 25% in 2019 Following Huawei ban

Trendforce, via its market analysis division DRAMeXchange, announced yesterday that it expected DRAM pricing to fall even more than previously estimated. The motive behind this is Huawei's ban following the US-China trade war, which will limit Huawei's ability to deliver its server and, especially, smartphone products. With companies being banned from trading with the Chinese firm, a voracious consumer of the US-tied DRAM production has just evaporated without a trace. This means increasing inventories amidst a freeze in demand due to uncertainty in the overall markets, which will obviously tip the supply-demand balance.

This has led TrendForce to officially adjust its outlook for 3Q DRAM prices from its original prediction of a 10% decline to a widened 10-15% decline, with an additional 10% decline in the fourth quarter. And of course, after prices hit rock bottom, they can only go up, which is why DRAMeXchange expects prices can only increase - and DRAM manufacturers' outlook improve - come 2020. Gear up for those DRAM upgrades this year, folks.

TrendForce: Recent DRAM Pricing Decline Biggest Since 2011, Nearly 30% Decrease

The latest analysis of the PC DRAM market from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, finds that most contracts are now monthly deals rather than quarterly deals, with February even seeing a most unusual, large down-correction in prices. The current quarterly decline dropped from the originally projected 25% to nearly 30%, resulting in the sharpest decline in a single season since 2011.

DRAMeXchange points out that, according to the most recent market observations, inventory levels have kept climbing ever since overall contract prices dropped in the fourth quarter of last year, and most DRAM suppliers are currently holding around a whopping six weeks' worth of inventory (wafer banks included). Meanwhile, Intel's low-end CPU supply shortage is expected to last until the end of 3Q19, and PC-OEMs are unable to carry out the consumption of DRAM chips under demand suppression. The overall market has thus entered freefall, meaning that large reductions in prices aren't going to be effective in driving sales. The excessively high inventory will continue to cause down-corrections in prices this year if demand doesn't make a strong comeback.

TrendForce: Contract Prices of NAND Flash Products to Drop Further 10% just in 1Q19

According to a report from DRAMeXchange, a division of market analytics firm TrendForce, contractor pricing of NAND flash products could drop some further 10% entering 2019 and throughout just the first quarter of the next year. Citing higher than expected but output from NAND manufacturers, who managed to ramp up their 64-bit 3D NAND ad higher-than-expected ratios, and with stagnating smartphone demand, channel quantities' increase will lead to dripping (if not cascading) pricing.

As for the trend in the SSD market, DRAMeXchange expects Client SSD contract prices to fall by nearly 10% in 1Q19, a great boon for customers. With global notebook shipments for 1Q19 estimated to decrease by over 15% QoQ, slowing demand for SSDs will lead to decreasing prices matching demand, despite the increasing SSD adoption rate in the PC market and the memory content upgrades. Long story short, enthusiasts: don't do any Christmas shopping for SSDs, barring some amazing deals that do pop up.

Hold on to Your $: DRAM Pricing Now Expected to Drop Towards, Into 2019

A DRAM market pricing watch report from DRAMeXchange, a division of Trendforce, has just outed a prediction for DRAM price drops towards 2019 and into the same year. The report points to already-decreased by 10.14% pricing (US$34.5 in 3Q18 to the current US$31) for 4GB PC DRAM modules in the market, relative to the previous quarter, as a sign for continued drops. 8 GB DRAM module pricing has declined by 10.29%, signaling an increased inventory of those parts.

The report also states that suppliers have just reached the inflection point for oversupply, despite continued efforts from manufacturers to artificially decrease manufacturing to keep a strain on demand. The report further states that "The ASP in the whole DRAM market is forecast to fall by as much as around 20% YoY in 2019, according to DRAMeXchange's latest analysis. After reaching peak profit in 3Q18, DRAM suppliers are now optimizing their costs so that they will have a soft landing in 2019 as prices are marked down every quarter."

TrendForce: Contract Prices in NAND Flash Market Will Keep Falling in 2H18 Due to Oversupply and Weak Seasonal Demand

The latest analysis on the NAND Flash market by DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, forecasts that the ASP of NAND Flash will drop by around 10% QoQ respectively in 3Q18 and 4Q18. Although 3Q18 heralds the traditional peak season for the sales of consumer electronics, the growth of the end market demand has been weaker than anticipated. At the same time, the supply of 3D-NAND Flash continues to expand.

DRAMeXchange points out that the main reason behind the falling prices is oversupply at various levels. First, the annual shipments for smartphones this year are expected to be just on par with last year's. The replacement demand for smartphones has been sluggish due to the lack of differentiation among products in terms of hardware specifications. Second, notebook shipments were very strong in 1H18, so the seasonal shipment growth for notebooks in 2H18 will be lackluster compared with the growth in the year's first half as the base period. Third, the competition is very intense in the server SSD market. Although demand for server systems is growing steadily, there is an oversupply of server SSDs because too many suppliers are engaging in this profitable segment. Finally, NAND Flash suppliers have raised their output forecasts as they have expanded their production capacity and improved the yield rates of their 64/72-layer 3D-NAND production. Given the above factors that have led to a persistent oversupply, contract prices of various NAND Flash products will remain weak through 2H18.

TrendForce: Price Decline Will Continue in NAND Flash Market in 2H18

The growth momentum for 2H18 NAND Flash market is expected to be weak, according to the latest report of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. Coupled with continuous improvements in yield rate and output of 64/72-layer 3D NAND Flash, DRAMeXchange expects the market to approach a balance between supply and demand, the contract prices of NAND Flash products are expected to decline further.

The contract prices of NAND Flash products have been decreasing for two consecutive quarters in 1H18 due to the traditional off-season and capacity expansion of 64/72-layer 3D NAND Flash. During this period, suppliers provided competitive prices for high-density products to boost the memory content per box, aiming to further improve the demand in peak season. Meanwhile, suppliers have postponed further plans of capacity expansion, hoping to moderate the price decline.

NDRC, Samsung to Sign MOU That Could Moderate DRAM Prices, Increase Production

PC hardware enthusiasts all over (but particularly in our own forums) have been adamant in how this is one of the worst times to be building a new system. And it's true; the DIY market is a mess right now, as our own btarunr mentioned in his latest editorial; so much so, that in a full reversal of years and years of experience, users might now actually be better served in the $/performance department by buying their systems from boutique retailers, than by acquiring all of the parts separately. It's a mad, mad world out there, for a multitude of reasons; but one such reason is DRAM pricing. And fortunately, it seems that China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is on the verge of signing a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Samsung that might help the DRAM market as a whole.

DRAM Output in 2018 Planned for Continued High Pricing - TrendForce

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, has come forward with the expected announcement that DRAM output in 2018 likely won't be enough to fully satisfy supply. This has been the case for some time now. However, what started with simple insufficient output that could contain the explosion of DRAM capacity in smartphones seems to now be turning into a conscious decision by the three top memory manufacturers. Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix are seemingly setting output at a lower than required level so as to artificially inflate pricing due to low supply. TrendForce themselves say so, in that these suppliers "(...) have opted to slow down their capacity expansions and technology migrations so that they can keep next year's prices at the same high level as during this year's second half. Doing so will also help them to sustain a strong profit margin."

DRAM production is expected to increase by 19,6% in 2018; however, this ratio is lower than the expected growth in demand, which is being pegged at 20,6%. This means 2018 is likely to see increased constraint in the supply channels (whereas 2018 was actually expected to see a slight relief in supply issues). This means that pricing will either stabilize or tend to increase from current levels. To be fair, semiconductor production isn't as simple as hitting a "increase production by 10x" button; reports say that all three players are contending with insufficient room to expand output on their production lines, and getting a new production facility online isn't a trivial effort - neither in funds, nor on time. However... All involved companies would much rather keep prices as they are than see them being brought down by oversupply.

TrendForce Reports 4.6% Sequential Monthly Gain for ACP of PC DRAM Modules

DRAM prices began to rise in the second half of 2016 and have maintained a strong upward momentum through the first half of 2017, according to data from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce. The average contract price of PC DRAM modules rose by nearly 40% sequentially in the first quarter to US$24 and then by more than 10% sequentially in the second quarter to US$27. Furthermore, the average contract price of PC DRAM modules increased by about 4.6% between this June and July. DRAMeXchange's price forecast for this year's second half indicates and steady and incremental gains as the general trend in the DRAM market.

Amidst Production Woes, Pricing of DDR4 DRAM to Climb 12.5% on 2Q17 - Trendforce

Continuing the trend of previous reports, DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports the general price increase in the PC DRAM market is growing larger than anticipated as the already tight supply situation is compounded by quality problems with products made on the leading-edge processes. Based on a preliminary survey of completed contracts for the second quarter, DRAMeXchange estimates that the average contract price of 4GB DDR4 modules will go up by about 12.5% compared with the first quarter, from US$24 to around US$27.

"PC-OEMs that have been negotiating their second-quarter memory contracts initially expected the market supply to expand because Samsung and Micron have begun to produce on the 18 nm and the 17 nm processes, respectively," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "However, both Samsung and Micron have encountered setbacks related to sampling and yield, so the supply situation remains tight going into the second quarter and PC DRAM prices will continue to rise through this three-month period."

PC DRAM Pricing Increased 20% Sep-Oct 2016; Will Continue Rising in 2017 - TrendForce

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, today reported that the average contract price of 4GB PC DRAM modules increased over 20% between September and October of 2016 (jumping from US$14.5 to US$17.5) as DRAM suppliers completed their fourth-quarter contract negotiations with first-tier PC-OEMs.

These increases come as the result of production capacity gradually shifting from PC-centric DRAM towards mobile and server DRAM, which have seen tremendous growths in demand. In fact, PC DRAM memory accounts for less than 20% of overall DRAM production. The already low inventories of branded device makers go hand in hand with higher-than-expected demand for DRAM-carrying products. And this higher demand comes after the PC DRAM market being severely undersupplied in the second half of 2016. The result: an across-the-board price upturn for all types of DRAM.

TrendForce Reports Global DRAM Revenue Jumped 18.2% Sequentially in Q4 2016

Peak season demand and surging prices for DRAM products across different applications resulted in an 18.2% sequential growth in the global DRAM revenue for the final quarter of 2016, reports DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce.

Smartphone shipments peaked in the fourth quarter on account of the traditional busy season. Chinese smartphone brands continued to post strong sales while Apple benefitted from the release of iPhone 7. "Rising demand for mobile DRAM kept squeezing the industry's production capacity for PC DRAM," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "Contract prices of PC DRAM modules increased by more than 30% sequentially on average in the fourth quarter due to insufficient market supply. Server DRAM lagged behind PC and mobile DRAM in terms of price hike during the same period, but it is expected to catch up in the first quarter of this year."

SSD Pricing to Surge on the Back of NAND Shortages - Stock Your SSD Needs

Business. Business never changes. Whether you're for Keynes or Hayek, some truths just can't be escaped: and the one based on the market tending to equilibrium between the forces of supply and demand is oft times almost akin to a law of physics - other times, not so much. This time, it appears as if the market forces are steering NAND prices through the roof. The causes? Varied, though you probably carry one of them in your pocket most of the time. We earlier reported surging prices in the DRAM market, spurred by the Note 7 fiasco and increased production of that smartphone's competitors (and Samsung's own products) to fill the gaping hole left by its forcible market removal. But not only by DRAM are smartphones powered - they also make use of NAND flash.

NAND Flash Industry Value Poised to Grow More than 10% in 2015: Trendforce

The shrinking NAND Flash production costs resulting from the NAND Flash industry's improving technology are expected to boost demand for various end products, including SSDs and eMMCs, according to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce. NAND Flash industry value is expected to rise consistently in 2015, reaching as high as US$ 27.6 billion on annual growth of 12%.

Based on the tendency for new hardware devices to be released in the third and fourth quarters of each year and the likelihood of demand being restrained in the first two quarters, Sean Yang, an assistant vice president of DRAMeXchange, believes the NAND Flash market will thrive mostly during the second half of 2015 rather than during the first half. Increased NAND Flash demand in both the third and fourth quarters is expected to benefit the NAND Flash industry tremendously by easing any potential oversupply that occurs in the two preceding quarters and allowing the market to reach a potential balance. By the end of 2015, the NAND Flash industry has a good chance of remaining healthy and growth is expected to continue.

Kingston Technology Leads the DRAM Module Industry: TrendForce

The global PC DRAM module market revenues arrived at US$ 7.3 billion in 2013, a 32% YoY increase from 2012's US$ 5.5 billion, according to DRAMeXchange, the memory and storage research division of TrendForce. The main factors leading to the revenue growth included price increases for PC DRAM, increased spot market demand, and the rising proportion of contract market transactions. The top ten module manufacturers accounted for nearly 88% of the entire market's revenue in 2013, with Kingston Technology maintaining its usual leading position within the industry. ADATA Technology and Ramaxel, which ended up in second and third place, respectively, showed respective revenue growth of 116% and 37%. As the module manufacturers' operations are becoming increasingly diverse, the ranking for 2013 is based solely on their annual DRAM revenue.

NAND Flash Brand Supplier Revenue Falls 6.6% in First Quarter

The shipment performances of Smartphones, Tablets, and Notebooks were relatively weak in the first quarter due to seasonality. As a result of the entire NAND Flash market's oversupply in 1Q 2014, the branded suppliers' Q1 revenues saw a 6.6% drop compared to the previous quarter, and slid to approximately US$ 7,244 million, according to Sean Yang, Assistant Vice President at DRAMeXchange, the memory and storage research division of TrendForce.

Looking at the branded supplier revenue ranking, Samsung managed to retain its lead in the market with approximately US$ 2,175 million in sales, but saw its market share dip slightly to 30.0%; Toshiba came in second with a revenue total of US$ 1,548 million and an improved market share of 21.4%; SanDisk ended up in third place with US$ 1,367 million in revenue, while Micron came in fourth with US$ 1,050 million; Affected by its capacity allocations, SK Hynix's revenues slid to approximately US$ 594 million, resulting in market share of 8.2%.

DRAM Spot Prices Increase in November

According to DRAMeXchange, a division of global research firm TrendForce, as forecast in a previous report, DRAM contract price showed signs of stabilization in November; the previous US$1 to $2 monthly decline is narrowing, and DDR3 4 GB contract price is holding at the US$15 mark. TrendForce expects the contract price trend will only show a slight decrease in December, and may even stay flat for the month.

As spot market prices fluctuate more than contract prices, the spot market is often a good indicator of future DRAM prices. This week the spot market is seeing increased activity; DDR2 and 2 Gb eTT and DDR2 prices have increased by 1.24% and 1.09%, respectively. Top-tier memory makers began quietly building inventory in October, and spot market buyers seem to be following suit, providing an opportunity for a price rebound. TrendForce believes the DRAM spot price uptrend is due prior capacity cuts taking effect as well as strong entry-level tablet, or "Mobile Internet Device", shipments in China.

Ultrabook (and the like) Shipments to Double in 2013: Taiwan Manufactuers

It looks like recent Ultrabook platform growth forecasts by DRAMeXchange are on the money, as sources associated with PC ODMs in Taiwan are coming forward with expectations of 100% growth in Ultrabook and Ultrabook-like notebook shipments in 2013. It's important to note that the figure is augmented with shipments of various "Ultrabook-like" notebooks, which are tough to classify. By the end of 2013, Ultrabooks will make up 10% of the global notebook shipments, according to the sources.

DRAM Price Decline Results in 8.5% QoQ Decrease in DRAM Industry Value

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, as PC shipments are continually adjusted downwards and yearly growth has decreased by 5% YoY, demand for the peak season is not as strong as expected and the oversupply situation continues to worsen. As a result, contract price for 2 Gb chips fell by 22.5% in the third quarter, from US$1.11 in July to US$0.86 in September. Server and mobile DRAM are also showing falling price trends, resulting in an 8.5% drop in the value of the DRAM industry compared to the previous quarter; DRAM suppliers' revenues are falling across the board. However, looking at third quarter demand, with strong shipments for mobile devices like smartphones and tablet PCs, mobile DRAM accounted for 25% of total DRAM output, a significant increase from less than 20% in the second quarter. Consequently, market share is on the rise for memory makers with higher mobile DRAM ratios, like Samsung and Elpida. For the DRAM industry, improving core competitiveness lies in proper product adjustment, the key to profitability with such bleak market conditions.

NAND Flash Shipments Valued at $4.626 Billion, Samsung Leads in Shipments

Market research firm TrendForce released NAND flash shipment figures for 3Q 2012. The global NAND flash market is valued at US $4.626 billion, a healthy 6.6% growth over the previous quarter. A TrendForce DRAMeXchange report provided a break-down of shipments of NAND flash by manufacturers. Leading the pack is Samsung, with 41.2% market-share, registering a 1.8% QoQ growth. Trailing behind is Toshiba, with 24.7% market share, and a significant 12.9% QoQ growth. In September, Toshiba cut prices and scaled up production, which may have contributed to the growth. Micron holds 14.4% of the market with 2.8% growth, SK Hynix 11.6% with 6.4% growth (the company began mass-production of SSD-grade NAND flash this quarter), and Intel with 7.6% of the market-share, growing at 19.7%. Bear in mind, these numbers represent NAND flash components used not only in SSDs, but also USB flash drives, memory cards, etc.

Ultrabooks to Grow Over 30% in 2013, Becoming Key PC Market Indicator

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, as the cost decline of ultrabook components like SSDs, displays, and cases becomes more apparent next year and Intel places more focus on developing processors for ultrabook use, ultrabook market size may exceed 30 million units in 2013, growing by more than 30% compared to this year and accounting for 17% of the notebook market.

DRAM Production Cuts Take Effect, Likely to Lead to a Rebound for DRAM Prices

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, given the persistent oversupply situation in the global DRAM market, along with the -5% YoY shipment growth for PCs, October contract prices have dropped below $16 USD, and are continuing to approach the $15 USD mark. The trends pose as yet another test to the cost structures of DRAM makers. With prices approaching or dropping below cash cost, manufacturers are faced with the option of either undergoing production cuts or shifting their focus towards non-DRAM products.

Other than ProMOS, which chose to quit the DRAM market due to financial woes, manufacturers like Elpida and Rexchip have taken the initiative to lower their output levels in August. Powerchip, beginning September, took a similar initiative by adjusting P3 wafer levels, whereas in the following month, Nanya and Inotera made the official announcement to implement 20% production cuts. For the South Korean DRAM manufacturers, whose cost structures appear to be superior to those of other competitors, no production cuts have been announced nor taken, although efforts to control output ratios have been intensified. At the same time that production of commodity DRAM is being lowered, an increasing amount of emphasis is being placed on the production of the more profitable mobile and server DRAMs.

DRAM Contract Price Falls Below US$16 Due to Weak Demand

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, PC-ODM shipment figures indicate this year's peak shipment period for PCs has passed. Notebook shipments have shown a downtrend in October, indication that DRAM demand is slipping. As 4 GB modules are now the mainstream specification, price decline was more significant than for the 2 GB modules; average 4 GB price fell by 1.54% to US$16, while the lowest price broke the US$16 mark, arriving at US$15.75, amounting to a mere US$0.83 for 2 Gb chips - nearly the same as spot price. 2 GB module price, on the other hand, stayed the same at US$9.25. As module prices fall to such lows, DRAM suppliers are strategically focusing on high-density 4GB module shipments in hopes of stimulating sales due to content per unit increases.

Micron Emerges as Front-Runner To Buy Out Elpida

Following a rapid turn of events, Micron Technology has emerged as a front-runner in the race to buy out ailing Japanese DRAM major Elpida. Elpida revealed Micron as the winner of the second round of bidding for the right to negotiate exclusively to buy it. DRAMeXchange predicts that Micron may offer up to 300 billion JPY (US $3.75 billion) for the deal, and the Micron+Elpida combine that emerges out of the deal, with its DRAM capacity, could bring about a revolutionary change in the industry.

The Elpida buyout, according to market analysts at TrendForce, will give Micron the capability to compete with Korean DRAM heavyweights SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics, in high-volume DRAM manufacturing. Elpida has been known for investments in DRAM R&D, and isn't behind the two Korean companies in terms of volume manufacturing. Its 30 nm-class DRAM yield-rate is nearly mature, while the next-generation 25 nm process is in testing phase.
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