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Tue, Apr 01, 2003 - Page 12 News List

Memory chipmaker stocks fall as Hynix may get punished

BLOOMBERG , SEOUL

Shares of Samsung Electronics Co and other computer memory chipmakers fell on concern that the possible imposition of tariffs on exports by Hynix Semiconductor Inc to Europe and the US will force it to dump chips on the Asian spot market.

Samsung Electronics, which has 30 percent of the US$16 billion industry, fell 6.7 percent, on course for its largest one-day drop this year. Nanya Technologies Corp, the only other profitable producer of the chips last year, fell 6.7 percent and Powerchip Semiconductor Corp, Taiwan's third-largest maker of computer memory chips, fell 6.1 percent.

Investors are speculating that two investigations, one by the EU and one by the US Commerce Department, will result in duties on Hynix exports that will price its products out of those markets. The US decision may come as early as today, according to a Reuters report citing unidentified industry officials.

"It isn't just speculation that the decision will go against Hynix, everyone believes it has," said Simon Woo, a semiconductor analyst at Hyundai Securities in Seoul. "Regardless of the Hynix decision though, fundamentals are more important: supply is increasing all the time and demand isn't."

Woo said he expects any impact on dynamic random access memory chip prices to be limited to about two weeks.

The US Commerce Department plans a preliminary ruling Monday based on Micron's claim that it was "materially injured" by imports from South Korean chipmakers including Hynix because they got illegal subsidies from their government, Reuters said Friday.

The spot price of the benchmark 256Mb, 266MHz double-data-rate DRAM chip was unchanged at US$3.24, according to dramexchange.com.

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