The PC DRAM price is expected to rise at a quarterly rate of 14.52 percent next quarter and another 8.2 percent in the final quarter on expectations that oversupply will improve after Micron Technology Inc’s acquisition of beleaguered Elpida Memories Inc of Japan, a local market researcher said yesterday.
However, the price rebound would still not be strong enough to see loss-making chipmakers, such as Taiwan’s top DRAM maker Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技), back into the black, said Avril Wu (吳雅婷), a memory industry analyst with TrendForce Corp (集邦科技).
The contract price is forecast to rise from an estimated US$1.17 this quarter to US$1.34 next quarter and US$1.45 in the fourth quarter, Wu said.
The DRAM chip price fell 34.8 percent to an average of US$0.84 last year, a significant improvement from the 50 percent annual decline in the previous year, she said.
“The market will become healthier and prices will stabilize in the second half,” Wu said.
The effect of the consolidation of Micron and Elpida has not yet been felt, she said.
“However, there is still a long way to go [for DRAM chipmakers] to break even,” Wu said.
As of the first quarter of this year, Nanya Technology has lost NT$135.34 billion (US$4.53 billion) since 2007, according to the company’s stock exchange filings.
The PC DRAM market is also shrinking, Wu said.
In the past, DRAM chips were primarily used for PCs, but things have changed. This year, 44 percent of global DRAM output will be used in PCs, down from 53 percent last year, as tablets, smartphones and feature phones replace PCs as the main products consuming DRAM chips, Wu said.
Wu suggested that DRAM makers diversify faster by expanding into the mobile DRAM business. Mobile DRAM chips carry two or three times the price premium of PC DRAM chips, she said.