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DRAMeXchange said Flash Capacity Expansion is slowing down

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The global market for NAND flash memory will remain in oversupply in 2019, as the outlook for end-market demand stays weak, according to DRAMeXchange. NAND flash chipmakers have moved to slow down their capacity expansion pace and cut capex this year, aiming to limit their bit output growth and moderate oversupply in the industry.

The total capex in the global NAND flash industry is expected to be US$22 billion in 2019, about 2% lower than year-ago levels, DRAMeXchange indicated.

Due to chipmakers' lower capex this year, 92/96-layer 3D NAND products are expected to account for only about 32% of the industry's total output by the end of 2019, while 64/72-layer products as a proportion of the total output remain over 50%, DRAMeXchange said.

Major NAND flash chipmakers have entered mass production of 92/96-layer 3D NAND flash chips since the fourth quarter of 2018, DRAMeXchange noted. As the manufacturers slow down capacity expansion and migration to mode-advanced node processes, the global NAND flash industry bit output growth is expected to be around 38% in 2019, significantly lower than over 45% in 2018, DRAMeXchange said.

DRAMeXchange estimated Samsung's NAND flash bit output growth at around 35% this year. As Samsung holds an about 35% share of the global NAND flash market, the vendor's slowdown in bit output growth will have "great impacts" on the overall industry output growth in 2019, DRAMeXchange said.

DRAMeXchange also revised downward its estimates for SK Hynix and Toshiba/Western Digital annual bit output growth this year. SK Hynix' NAND flash bit output growth is forecast to be less than 50% from the previously-estimated 50%, while Toshiba/Western Digital will see their output growth slow to 35% from 40%.

Meanwhile, the combined NAND flash bit output of Micron Technology and Intel is forecast to grow by nearly 40% in 2019, lower than 45% in 2018, according to DRAMeXchange.

In addition, DRAMeXchange expects NAND flash prices to fall 20% sequentially in the first quarter of 2019, compared with the 10% decline estimated previously. Prices will experience another sequential fall of nearly 15% in the second quarter, but will decrease at a moderate pace in the second half of 2019, according to DRAMeXchange.

By: DocMemory
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