Memorychip prices might decline further: TrendForce

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 12

Memorychip prices might decline further next quarter due to ripple effects from a shortage of Intel Corp processors, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday, adding that PC vendors have turned conservative about notebook shipments in the fourth quarter, a peak season for the industry.

Intel originally planned to begin mass production of CPUs based on its latest Whiskey Lake platform this quarter, when the notebook market enters its high sales season, the researcher said.

However, PC vendors are facing a shortage of Whiskey lake CPUs, which has disrupted their shipment plans for the second half of the year, TrendForce said.

The shortage has affected both newly launched and existing CPU product lines, the researcher said.

They include enhanced versions of 14-nanometer chips and product lines based on the 14-nanometer Coffee Lake platform, which has been mass-produced for six months and is one of the solutions for mainstream notebook models, it said.

TrendForce said it has thus revised its notebook shipment forecast for this year to an annual contraction of 0.2 percent. It did not provide its original estimate.

The CPU shortage might dampen demand for DRAM chips and NAND flash memory chips as well, it said.

TrendForce had estimated that DRAM prices would shrink 2 percent sequentially next quarter, ending nine quarters of price hikes amid a looming supply glut.

However, it now says the decline might be greater as demand for PC DRAM chips might dwindle amid fewer notebook shipments.

NAND flash memorychip makers might experience a similar regression, prompting prices for such memory chips to dip at a faster rate this quarter than its prior forecast of a 10 percent drop, it said.

The researcher warned about a deeper impact on memory chips, as the supply shortage appears to have spread to the server market.

Server suppliers are migrating their processors from Intel’s Grantley platform to Purley, and a small number of server manufacturers said that the lead time for Purley processors has become longer, TrendForce said.

If the issue becomes widespread, it would cut into server shipments, the researcher said.

What is more important is that the NAND flash and DRAM chip markets are much more vulnerable to falling demand from server applications than from notebook applications, it said.

Therefore, downward corrections of demand for server memory products would cause a steeper drop in quotations for memory products as a whole, it said.

TrendForce estimated that the CPU supply gap in the notebook market would widen from about 5 percent this month to 5 to 10 percent next month and could reach more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter.

The shortage is expected to be resolved in the first half of next year, it said.