Saturday, February 23, 2013

NAND flash memory cards in short supply, Feb. TLC contract prices climb 1-3 percent

TAIWAN: According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, although numerous end-products showed flat sales performances during Chinese New Year, NAND Flash contract prices are expected to continue on a stable trend due to the following supply-related factors:

1) During February, both Samsung's and Toshiba/SanDisk camps increased the proportion of MLCs produced as a means to satisfy the OEM orders for eMMC and SSD products. This resulted in tightened TLC production, and in turn contributed to a shortage of memory cards and a 1-3 percent increase in TLC contract prices;

2) Affected by the current shortage of the new 20nm-class-process chips intended for SSD applications, MLC contract prices have flattened out and remain largely stable during February.
As the shortage for the above-mentioned memory cards and 20nm-class-process MLC are likely to continue into mid-March, TrendForce expects NAND Flash contract prices to remain mostly stable in the short term. During Q2, the weakened demand for smartphone and tablet PCs is expected to make the off-peak season effect on numerous NAND Flash end-products appear more apparent than it was during the first quarter.
At the same time, following the potential improvements to the yield rate and reliability of the 20nm-class process technology, shipments for the 20nm-class-node SSD and eMMC are likely to increase and help put an end to the shortage of SSDs and memory cards in early 2Q13. Following the quarter-end settlement and promotion strategy effects expected by the end of Q1, NAND Flash contract prices are projected to begin on a mild downtrend starting from the end of March.

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