DRAM contract prices up sharply in Feb.


TAIPEI–Contract prices of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips in February rose sharply on personal computer makers’ restocking of commodity DRAMs, a research report said Saturday.

In the report, market information advisory firm TrendForce Corp. said contract prices of benchmark DDR3 2Gb DRAM chips in February rose 13.68 percent from the second half of January to US$1.08 (NT$31.97).

In addition, DDR3 2Gb DRAM chip prices in the spot market in February also rose 9.92 percent from the second half of last month to US$1.44, TrendForce said.

The advisory firm said the first-tier DRAM suppliers in the world continued to lower their production of commodity DRAMs for PC use but raise output of specialty DRAMs for mobile devices or servers as planned.

As a result, contract PC makers rushed to raise their commodity DRAM inventory in a bid to avoid a possible tight supply expected for the second half of this year when a peak season for the computer industry will arrive, it said.

PC makers’ efforts in restocking served as a driver of higher DRAM prices in both spot and futures markets last month, and price hikes in the memory chip market has become a trend, TrendForce added.

With DRAM makers continuing to scale down commodity DRAM production, the industry is expected to gradually strengthen its bottom line and eventually break even, the advisory firm said.

In Taiwan, Nanya Technology Corp., the largest DRAM maker in the country, posted NT$8.88 billion (US$300 million) in net loss in the fourth quarter of last year. The fourth quarter’s loss improved from NT$10.09 billion in net loss recorded in the previous quarter.

The bottom line of Inotera Memories Inc., another Taiwan-based DRAM supplier, has also been improving. In the fourth quarter, Inotera incurred NT$3.72 billion in net loss, compared with NT$4.39 billion in net loss registered in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, TrendForce said as Elpida Memory Inc. of Japan has won approval from the Tokyo District Court for its plan to sell the company to U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc., the U.S. firm is expected to rank as top three DARM makers in the world.

In the fourth quarter, Samsung grasped a 42-percent share of the world’s DRAM market, ahead of SK Hynix with 25 percent, Elpida with 14.1 percent, and Micron with 10.5 percent, according to TrendForce.