DRAM memory prices have stabilized in eight months after logging double-digit declines this year. But citing sluggish demand, experts say it’s yet early to assume that the prices would turn to the plus in the near future despite Japan’s latest restriction ban on chip-making materials to South Korea that some expected to trigger a price hike.
According to market research firm DRAMeXchange on Sept. 1, as of the end of August, the average fixed trading price of DDR4 8Gb DRAM for PCs remained unchanged from last month at $2.94. Prices had been showing double digits from January to July, with May being the only exception.
Fixed trading prices refer to the prices that memory chip makers sign supply contracts with clients such as Apple, Dell an HP.
Industry watchers had assumed trading prices would recover after the DRAM spot prices spiked temporarily in the end of July. But this surge appeared to have been triggered by distributors who intentionally locked up inventory based on the belief that they could reap profit due to a supply shortage caused by Japan’s latest decision to refrain semiconductor-making materials to South Korea.
DRAMeXchange said that Japan’s export restrictions had not had a real impact on the South Korean memory chip sector. On the contrary, it said that spot prices may further fall as producers eliminate inventory. Reflecting such forecasts, DRAM spot prices edged down during the month of August.
Even the most positive outlook predicted prices to remain unchanged at most in the latter half of this year, with DRAM fixed trading prices falling sharply in the fourth quarter.
DRAMeXchange added that it would take up to half a year for the sector to pare down its inventory to reasonable levels, and for client companies to recover their growth momentum.
Meanwhile, memory chip makers have recently said they would cut down on production to fight the falling prices. Many have put their CAPEX investment plans on hold.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.