Friday, September 07, 2018
Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix both intend to defer their capacity expansion plans, as a slowdown in customer demand will be dragging down DRAM and NAND flash memory prices through the first half of 2019, according to industry sources.
The global NAND flash market has remained in oversupply in the third quarter of 2018 despite the period being the traditional peak season, the sources said. Suppliers' continued ramp-ups of 64- and 72-layer 3D NAND flash output coupled with the limited demand growth due to the saturated notebook and smartphone markets are being identified as the factors bringing down the memory prices.
Meanwhile, the industry supply chain is flooded with substandard NAND flash chips, which have made a further negative impact on the memory prices, the sources noted. NAND flash contract prices are likely to fall by a larger-than-expected 10-15% sequentially in the third quarter and another 15% in the fourth, the sources said.
DRAM contract prices have also shown signs of falling, the sources indicated. The memory contract prices are expected to start falling in the fourth quarter as the market becomes oversupplied, the sources said.
NAND flash and DRAM memory prices will be under downward pressure through the first half of 2019, the sources pointed out.
Industry leader Samsung, which used to supply 3D NAND chips for its own SSDs and other products, has started shipping the memory externally in the third quarter of 2018, according to the sources. Samsung is also slowing down the pace of expanding its 3D NAND chip output, with new production capacity unlikely to go online until the first half of 2019, the sources said.
Samsung has also put on hold its plans to build additional new production capacity for 1ynm DRAM chips at its fabs in Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek, the sources continued. The chip vendor previously planned to build an additional 30,000 wafers monthly for DRAM memory starting the third quarter of 2018, the sources said.
In addition, SK Hynix has decided to slow down the pace of its new 3D NAND chip capacity expansion project, the sources noted.
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