DRAM pricing rises nearly 3% in May

Taiwan — Contract pricing for DDR3 2 GB DRAMs rose 2.7 percent from $18.25 to $18.75 ($1.02/1Gb) during the first half of May, according to DRAMeXchange, a research department of Trendforce. The average DDR3 4GB contract price also increased, rising by 2.8 percent to $35.50 ($2.13/2Gb).

DRAMeXchange reported that some DRAM makers have yield issues with their 40nm technology nodes. RMAs were issued and both quality and design flaws are being examined, reported the researcher. These yield issues also could result in longer lead times.

This spurred first-tier PC OEMs to turn to other DRAM vendors to avoid potential disruptions in their own production plans, which resulted in customers agreeing to prices at the higher end of the price range, said the market research firm. DRAMeXchange predicts that the 2GB contract price of $20 is attainable in the short term.

Source: DRAMeXchange
Source: DRAMeXchange

The DRAM report also indicated that most PC OEMs have been conservatively optimistic on their sales in the second half of 2011 and raised their inventory levels even though their shipments in the first half have been below expectations.

In addition, DRAM makers have shifted their capacities for mobile and server DRAMs to meet increased demands for smart phone, tablet PC and cloud computing applications. The shift will ease the oversupply concerns of commodity DRAM products, according to DRAMeXchange.

Inventory replenishments were initiated in April and are expected to continue, said DRAMeXchange. With softened PC sales during the first half of 2011, PC OEMs kept their inventories at unusual low levels, and in some cases, down to less than one month of DRAM supply. The continued re-stocking will help drive prices up, said the researcher.

Both Samsung and Hynix predicted that DRAM prices will likely increase in the second quarter of 2011, according to their recent first quarter earning releases. Prices in early May are the beginning of the upward price trend, said DRAMeXchange.