Thu, May 29, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Qimonda sees price rebound continuing during second half


European memory chipmaker Qimonda AG said yesterday the price rebound for computer memory chips could be maintained in the second half of this year on the back of increasing demand and slow capacity expansion.

The price of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips began a slight recovery recently, following a year-long slump on glut after most suppliers suffered massive losses.

“In the second half of a year, you usually see DRAM business increase and capex [capital expenditure] cuts across the board. Hopefully, prices will remain high amid healthy supply,” said Allan Wee (林端偉), vice president of Qimonda’s Taiwan branch.

A slowdown in supply would ease oversupply and support DRAM prices, Wee said. He declined to give a detailed forecast for the price rebound.

DRAM makers are expected to expand their capacity by 50 percent to 60 percent annually this year in the wake of a 40 percent reduction on capital spending this year, Wee said, citing data from market researcher Gartner Inc.

Qimonda intended to increase capacity by 20 percent to 30 percent this fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2007, and will end on Sept. 30, on annual basis — slower than last year’s 40 percent to 50 percent expansion, Wee said.

The company will showcase its next-generation DRAM, or DDR3, at the world’s second-largest computer trade fair, Computex, in Taipei next week, along with new memory products for consumer electronics and mobile phones.

Qimonda is scheduled to start selling the DDR3 chip in the fourth quarter.

The spot price of benchmark DRAM chips went down 0.9 percent to US$1.98 per unit during the week ending on Monday, from a week earlier on seasonal factor, Taipei-based market researcher DRAMeXchange Technology Inc (集邦科技) said.

The researcher forecast that contract price could climb by an additional 5 percent to 10 percent in the first half of next month from the second half of this month on Elpida Memory Inc’s plan to further rise prices and a drop in supply resulting from production disruption at Hynix Semiconductor Inc’s factory in China, DRAMeXchange said.

“Channel checks show that some customers were informed by Hynix about delivery delays or shipments reduction, which means that the consequences of the power outage are spreading,” DRAMeXchange said on Tuesday.

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