1HDec. NAND Flash Average Contract Price Trend Mixed, Stays Flat or Falls 5-7% due to Pre-Holiday Sales Uncertainty
Impacted by the European debt crisis, the 4Q11 holiday peak sales season for electronic products was expected to be weaker than usual. Therefore, although NAND flash price already decreased significantly in 3Q11 (some system clients’ OEM order demand recovered slightly in September and October), price continued to fall gradually in 4Q11. As most downstream clients’ current inventory levels are sufficient, they are waiting to see the results of year-end holiday season sales before deciding how much inventory to restock for the Chinese New Year holiday by mid-January 2012. Therefore, as the market is waiting to observe the year-end holiday season sales performance, 1HDec. NAND flash average contract price trend has been mixed; either staying flat or falling by 5-7%.
Looking towards 1Q12, the NAND flash market will still be influenced by a number of mixed factors. First, while Europe has recently found some solutions to resolve and reform some systematic problems of the European sovereign debt crisis, in 1H12 there will still be a period of integrations and adjustments, and some actions of internationally financial and economic cooperation will be necessary before the global economy is back on the road to sustainable recovery in 2H12. Second, although both the temporary HDD shortage caused by the flood disaster in Thailand and ultrabook product unveilings will stimulate system product clients’ SSD and mSATA utilization in 1Q12, due to cost consideration the increase will only be significant after 2ynm-class SSD products mature further. Third, after Chinese New Year, new product unveilings will be necessary to partly counteract the slow sales in 1H12’s down season. Lastly, although in 1H12 most NAND flash suppliers may temporarily suspend plans for capacity expansion or properly control output growth, bit supply will continue to increase as suppliers gradually migrating from the 2xnm-class to the 2ynm-class process in 1H12. Taking all of these factors into account, in the short term the status of the most downstream customers will keep wait-and-see toward the NAND Flash market, while NAND flash price is likely to continue on a slight downtrend. Future NAND flash pricing trend will mainly depend on downstream client inventory replenishment after Chinese New Year, as well as certain system clients’ preparations for new product unveilings.
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