Tuesday, August 15, 2017
DRAM contract prices, which began to rise in the second half of 2016, continue their growth in the second half of 2017. Prices are set to continue rising in the third quarter, according to DRAMeXchange.
Average contract prices for PC DRAM modules rose nearly 40% sequentially to US$24 in the first quarter of 2017, and grew another 10% to US$27 in the second quarter, said DRAMeXchange. Prices for July alone increased 4.6% on month.
"The DRAM market in the second half of this year will be entering the busy season with tight supply made worse by the temporary suspension of N2 (Fab-2) owned by Micron Technology Taiwan," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. Micron Technology Taiwan was formerly known as Inotera before Micron's acquisition.
The Micron N2 fab suffered a contamination event caused by malfunctioning gas equipment at the start of this July and halted production for two weeks for the cleanup. The facility has resumed normal operation since mid-July.
DRAMeXchange estimated that just over 20,000 wafers were ruined by the contamination, and the total wafer starts at the N2 fab were cut by about 30,000 wafers during the two-week suspension. In total, the fab lost around 50,000 wafers for the manufacture of DRAM chips.
DRAMeXchange believes Micron Taiwan is making its best effort to increase wafer starts in the hope of making up for the lost production period. The chance of worsening supply shortage in the DRAM market in September will depend on Micron Taiwan's ability to offset the wafer loss.
Bit demand growth will far exceed bit supply growth in the global DRAM market in 2017, DRAMeXchange said. The DRAM bit supply growth for 2017 is estimated at 19.5%, which is much lower than the 25% average growth rate of the previous years, while the year's bit demand growth is estimated at more than 22%.
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