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Spot pricing for DRAMs continues to fall

Posted: 30 Oct 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM market  spot pricing  NAND spot prices 

With the DRAM market still suffering from inventory in the channel combined with slowing PC demand, spot pricing fell for the twentieth consecutive week with 1-Gb DDR2 devices now priced at Rs.43.01 ($1.00), according to the latest report from research firm Gartner Inc. A year ago, the 1-Gb device was still priced above Rs.111.83 ($2.60); since then, it has seen a 62% decline in pricing.

The average spot pricing for all DRAMs was down 4.3 per cent compared to the previous week. Gartner reports: "With just five weeks of the holiday build left, the chances of a turnaround in the fourth quarter of 2008 without a major event are zero. The first quarter of 2009 will be weaker from a demand standpoint, so without significant supply cutbacks from the vendors, the start of 2009 looks to be as bleak as the end of 2008."

Similarly, recent NAND spot prices suffered a down trend, led by the 16-Gb mainstream parts, along with other legacy densities. The bright spots: 4-Gb and 8-Gb MLC parts, which experienced some price stability because of lower production volumes from Micron and Samsung amid modest demand. These parts will likely see some periodic price stability as a result of production cutbacks, but they ultimately will be pressured by persistent lower prices from 16-Gb and 32-Gb parts during the next six months, according to Gartner.

Gartner reports the weighted 1-GB average price was essentially flat, falling only about 1 cent to stand at $1.23. Recent earnings announcements from SanDisk and Samsung were consistent with Gartner's outlook for an oversupply situation persisting into the second quarter of 2009. Both companies expect a difficult pricing environment in the fourth quarter and a challenging first half of 2009.

As a result, Samsung's bit growth is expected to be in the low 80% range, which is considerably below Gartner's expectation in the last NAND supply-and-demand forecast. SanDisk has also pulled back on its NAND flash production expectations because it sold 30% of its manufacturing capacity to its partner Toshiba to generate cash and reduce debt obligations totalling about Rs.4,301.06 crore ($1 billion), said Gartner.

Gartner's preliminary insight into bit growth in 2008 is for about 135%, but believes it will likely be under 100% in 2009. The research firm says to expect a turbulent pricing environment and more reductions in capital spending as vendors struggle to be profitable, with little relief expected until the second half of the year.

-Gina Roos
EE Times Supply Network

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