Quake, Tsunami Cause Uncertainty in DRAM, Flash Production

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-03-14 Print this article Print

DRAM spot prices were up 6 percent to 7 percent from March 11 to March 14, researcher says.

Uncertainty surrounding the horrendous March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan has disrupted some aspects of the dynamic random access memory and NAND flash businesses in that stricken country.

Raymond James Equity Research wrote in a media advisory March 14 that most DRAM players have ceased "spot" price quoting activity since March 11 as a result of uncertainty regarding manufacturing-equipment damage, power disruptions and raw-wafer supply disruptions.

Japan's Shin-Etsu is a top DRAM producer. Micron, the top-producing U.S. DRAM manufacturer, is based in Idaho.

As a result of this uncertainty, DRAM spot prices were up 6 percent to 7 percent from March 11 to March 14, Raymond James said. "We suspect this dynamic to place upward pressure on DRAM contract pricing," the market researcher wrote.

"With PC OEMs already starting to worry about supply even before the quake/tsunami, the DRAM market and, of course, the NAND market, could become more volatile in the near-term before stabilization," the researcher wrote.

Micron, whose most recent DRAM price is listed at $10.24, seems likely to benefit from the current dynamic because its fabrication plants and back-end assembly/test locations are not in Japan, Raymond James said. Micron is a high-ranking supplier of both DRAM and NAND.

SanDisk, whose latest price for NAND is $45.07, appears more vulnerable because it specializes only in NAND and has the bulk of its manufacturing in Japan as part of its joint ventures with Toshiba, Raymond James said.

The researcher said that no structural damage has been reported at the joint-venture plants.


Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel