Monday, December 3, 2012

2HNov. DRAM contract price shows slight decline

TAIWAN: According to DRAMeXchange, a division of global market research firm TrendForce, DRAM contract price was on a downtrend in 2HNov., after staying flat momentarily in 1HNov. Average 4GB contract price was $15.25, a 3.17 percent decline compared to 1HNov. Average 2GB contract price fell below the $9 mark to $8.75, a 2.78 percent decrease.

From the market perspective, although lowest 4GB contract price remained at $15, as PC shipment figures continue to be reduced in the fourth quarter, DRAM makers are facing significant inventory pressure. It is rumored that some DRAM makers have offered special deals; although special deal prices are lower than concluded transaction prices, PC OEMs may not accept such deals as volume is high and the deals extend for two or three months.

The DRAM price decline is shrinking though, compared to the $1 to $2 monthly decrease that occurred mid-year, and can be attributed to DRAM makers’ capacity cuts as well as the lowering of commodity DRAM production ratios in favor of mobile and server DRAM products. TrendForce expects commodity DRAM price will see slow recovery in the first half of 2013, possibly returning to healthy levels in the latter half of the year.

DRAM Market Outlook 2013
TrendForce indicates, as a result of unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and cannibalization from smartphones and tablets, this year’s PC shipment forecast has been adjusted downwards to -6.2 percent, while PC shipment volume for 2013 is expected to see zero growth.

Thus, DRAM makers are lowering capex figures and slowing the rate of technology migration; growth will fall below 20 percent next year, a figure only higher than numbers the industry saw during the global financial crisis in 2009 and a significant decrease compared to this year’s 30 percent.

Commodity DRAM output fell below 50 percent this year and is expected to decrease to 32 percent in 2013 as the commodity DRAM market gradually shrinks.

In July, a joint press release from Micron and Elpida announced a merger between the two DRAM makers. Once the merger is complete, the global DRAM market will be dominated by three major players: Samsung, SK Hynix, and the Micron group. If these makers are able to maintain balanced industry output, the DRAM market will have a chance to return to healthy supply and demand levels.

As smartphone and tablet popularity continues to increase, DRAM makers are turning their focus to the mobile memory market. The Korean manufacturers in particular currently hold over 70 percent mobile market share by revenue; Samsung alone takes more than 50 percent of the market, due in large part to its Galaxy series shipments.

The server DRAM market is on the rise as well due to the emergence of cloud services, and server content per unit is expected to increase by 30 percent YoY in 2013, as 32GB replaces 16GB as the market mainstream.

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