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iSuppli downgrades its memory market ratings

Posted: 20 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM  NAND flash  markets 

Oversupply and plunging prices in the DRAM and NAND flash markets have prompted market research firm iSuppli Corp. to downgrade its rating for near-term conditions for the memory markets from "neutral" to "negative." The downgrade applies to conditions faced by suppliers of the electronic components.

The global average selling price for 512Mbit NAND flash is expected to drop to Rs.18.19 (46 cents) this quarter, down 24 per cent from Rs.23.73 (60 cents) in the previous quarter, iSuppli said. In contrast, the 512Mbit NAND ASP increased in price in Q2.

"The major cause of the price decline is a continuing oversupply of parts," Nam Hyung Kim, director and chief analyst for memory integrated circuits and storage systems at iSuppli, said in a statement. "The oversupply is being caused mainly by the South Korean memory manufacturers shifting production capacity from DRAM to NAND.

DRAM is a memory component found in computers. NAND is a type of memory found in USB flash drives.

The DRAM market is also in the dumps, with prices deteriorating since September. Pricing for 512Mbit DDR2 DRAM declined in the Asia spot market to less than Rs.39.55 ($1) this week. The drop is likely to result in most DRAM suppliers posting losses in the fourth quarter. The DRAM industry?s average operating profitability is expected to continue to be negative in the first quarter of 2008, the fourth consecutive quarter in the red.

Despite the current doldrums, iSuppli is cautiously predicting a slow improvement of market conditions over the next few quarters. DRAM is expected to recover first, allowing most suppliers to achieve an operating profit in the second quarter of 2008. The NAND market, however, is expected to continue deteriorating through the second quarter, before recovering in the third quarter.

"The DRAM recovery will be driven by the supply side, with inventory dwindling and growth in bit production decreasing," Kim said. "This will cause availability to tighten and prices to rise."

That scenario, however, depends on suppliers behaving rationally, and not engaging in any massive production increases, which could send DRAM pricing into a new dive, Kim said. "Any irrationality could drag out the market recovery."

- Antone Gonsalves
EE Times

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