NAND Flash price


2022-02-10

NAND Flash Pricing Set to Spike 5-10% in Q2 Due to Material Contamination at WDC and Kioxia, Says TrendForce

WDC recently stated that certain materials were contaminated in late January at NAND Flash production lines in Yokkaichi and Kitakami, Japan which are joint ventures with Kioxia, according to TrendForce’s investigations. Before this incident, TrendForce had forecast that the NAND Flash market will see a slight oversupply the entire year and average price from Q1 to Q2 will face downward pressure. However, the impact of WDC’s material contamination issue is significant and Samsung’s experience during the previous lockdown of Xi’an due to the pandemic has also retarded the magnitude of the NAND Flash price slump.  Therefore, the Q1 price drop will diminish to 5~10%. In addition, according to TrendForce, the combined WDC/Kioxia NAND Flash market share in the 3Q21 was as high as 32.5%. The consequences of this latest incident may push the price of NAND Flash in Q2 to spike 5~10%.

The contaminated products in this incident are concentrated in 3D NAND (BICS) with an initial estimate of 6.5exabytes (approximately 6,500M GB) affected. According to TrendForce, damaged bits account for 13% of the group’s output in 1Q22 and approximately 3% of the total output for the year. The normal production schedule for the entire line has yet to be confirmed. It is worth noting that the damages announced by WDC likely do not account for total losses stemming for this event and the number of damaged Kioxia parts has not been aggregated, so the total number of affected bits may increase further.

Production primarily focused on Client SSD and eMMC, subsequent spot pricing may climb

Currently, WDC and Kioxia are focused on supplying PC client SSD and eMMC products. Since WDC is the number two and number one supplier in the client SSD and eMMC markets, respectively, subsequent supply will inevitably be hampered. Therefore, even if production demand for PC OEM is revised downward in Q2, client SSD prices may remain resistant to decline. In terms of enterprise SSD, Kioxia PCIe 4.0 has been verified by a number of customers and the company’s market share in 2022 was originally forecast to increase. However, this incident will impact Kioxia’s ability to ship product and further affect subsequent customer procurement. Therefore, in order for buyers to satisfy their own production requirements, a Q2 decline in enterprise SSD product pricing will be largely restrained.

In addition, as buyers and sellers in the spot market are still clarifying events and incident assessments, they mostly responded by suspending quotations, with no new quotations having been generated. However, TrendForce’s assessment indicates that subsequent events will obviously stimulate spot price appreciation. Judging from contract pricing, any orders negotiated on a whole quarter basis should be unaffected in the near-term but there may be an immediate price increase in wafer quotations this February and March.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2022-01-24

Price Drop of NAND Flash Products for 1Q22 Expected to Taper to 8-13% QoQ Decline, Says TrendForce

NAND Flash prices for 1Q22 are expected to decline by 8-13% QoQ, compared to TrendForce’s previous forecast of 10-15% QoQ, primarily due to PC OEMs’ increased orders for PCIe 3.0 products and the impact of the lockdown in Xi’an on PC OEMs’ price negotiation approaches. To mitigate potential risks in logistics, NAND Flash buyers are now more willing to accept a narrower decline in contract prices in order to obtain their products sooner. However, as the Xi’an lockdown has not noticeably affected the local fabs’ manufacturing operations, the movement of NAND Flash contract prices going forward will likely remain relatively unaffected by the lockdown.

In addition, TrendForce finds that the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Xi’an has recently undergone a noticeable drop, and the local government has also announced that that the emergency level has been downgraded. As such, Samsung’s and Micron’s local production facilities are returning to normal with respect to workforce and operational capacity. Samsung’s local production base manufactures NAND Flash products, whereas Micron’s local production base is responsible for the testing and packaging of DRAM chips as well as the assembly of DRAM modules. The impacts of the lockdown mainly relate to delays in the deliveries of memory products to customers. On the other hand, the event has not caused a tangible loss in memory production.

Lockdown in Xi’an has not caused a notable rise in NAND Flash spot prices because most spot buyers already carry a high level of inventory

Regarding NAND Flash spot prices, suppliers temporarily suspended quote offering immediately after the event due to concerns about the fallout. As a result, the general decline in NAND Flash spot prices has more or less come to a halt. However, there has been no accompanying signs of spot buyers rushing to procure more products, and the overall transaction volume remains fairly low. TrendForce’s latest survey of the spot market finds that buyers still have plenty of stock on hand and are not in a hurry to procure NAND Flash products at the prices that are currently being offered.

Decline in client SSD and UFS prices for 1Q22 is expected to narrow

Regarding the contract prices of major NAND Flash products, their overall decline has been narrower than previously expected. For instance, despite the weakening demand for Chromebooks, notebook production on the whole has been improving as component gaps become gradually resolved, while demand for commercial notebooks also provides some upward momentum for the overall shipment of notebook computers. As a result, the QoQ decline in notebook shipment for 1Q22 has been narrower compared to prior first quarters. Furthermore, lower-than-expected shipment of Intel’s latest Alder Lake CPUs, which support PCIe 4.0 interface, has led certain PC OEMs to ramp up their orders for PCIe 3.0 SSDs in order to meet their PC shipment targets for 1Q22. However, SSD suppliers have already begun gradually transitioning their material preparation to PCIe 4.0 SSD instead, thereby creating a gap between the supply and demand of PCIe 3.0 SSDs. As well, the Xi’an lockdown has prompted client SSD buyers to scramble to lock in their required delivery volumes. Taken together, these factors have lessened the decline in client SSD prices for 1Q22 from the previous 5-10% QoQ to 3-8% QoQ.

Regarding smartphones, not only has demand remained relatively sluggish, but smartphone brands are also still holding a relatively high level of eMMC/UFS inventory, meaning these brands are not particularly willing to negotiate prices for high volumes of mobile NAND Flash storage at the moment. On the other hand, thanks to increased orders from PC OEMs since November 2021, NAND Flash suppliers’ inventory levels have fallen somewhat. Hence, the decline in mobile NAND Flash storage quotes has in turn narrowed slightly. Contract prices of UFS products are now expected to decrease by 5-10% QoQ in 1Q22 instead of 8-13% QoQ as previously expected. Finally, contract prices of server SSD and NAND Flash wafers are expected to decline by 3-8% QoQ and 10-15% QoQ, respectively, in 1Q22, in line with prior expectations.

2022-01-04

Latest Assessment of Jan. 3 Earthquake in Taiwan Finds No Significant Impact on Local DRAM and Foundry Fabs, Says TrendForce

An earthquake that was around magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale occurred off the east coast of Taiwan at 5:46PM local time on January 3, 2022. As most local DRAM and foundry fabs are located in the northern and central parts of the island, TrendForce’s latest investigations reveal no notable damages to the equipment from the fabs. Therefore, the production side is expected to continue normal operation, and the actual impact of the earthquake on the output of Taiwan’s DRAM and foundry industries will likely be limited. Taiwan’s memory fabs, including those operated by MTTW, Nanya, and other smaller semiconductor companies, collectively account for about 21% of the global DRAM production capacity. In the foundry industry, Taiwan’s fabs, including those operated by TSMC, UMC, Vanguard, PSMC, etc., together make up as much as 51% of the global production capacity.

Regarding the current state of the DRAM market, it is in midst of the conventional off-season. However, the recent easing of component gaps in the supply chain is generating some stock-up activities in different application segments and thus bolstering the overall demand. The headwinds of the off-season are not as strong as usual. Also, there are now concerns brewing in the wider memory market about the supply side being affected by the COVID-19 lockdown in the Chinese city of Xi’an. Consequently, memory spot prices have been registering daily hikes lately. It is worth noting that increases in DRAM spot prices have been more significant than the increases in NAND Flash spot prices. Regarding DRAM contract prices, TrendForce for now maintains its original forecast of QoQ drops in the 8-13% range for 1Q22. However, the latest earthquake that struck Taiwan could affect DRAM buyers’ behavior at any time. How contract prices will actually end up is something that requires further observation. As for DRAM spot trading, the memory spot market of Mainland China was still in midst of the year-end holiday on January 3. Hence, spot traders were passive for the most part. TrendForce will continue monitoring the spot market to see if the earthquake is going to be a positive driver going forward.

Turning to the current state of the foundry market, the chip demand related to some categories of end products has slowed down a bit recently because of seasonality. However, demand remains quite strong for chips that were previously in short supply, such as PMIC, Wi-Fi SoC, etc. Foundry fabs on the whole are still operating with a fully loaded capacity because demand continues to outstrip supply. The fabs of Taiwan-based foundries, including TSMC, UMC, PSMC, and Vanguard, are concentrated in Hsinchu, Taichung, and Tainan. In those places, an earthquake intensity scale of 3 or under was recorded. As such, no foundry fab in Taiwan has halted operation because of the earthquake, and all fabs are operating normally at the moment.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-12-30

Xi’an Lockdown Update, Samsung to Adjust NAND Flash Production Manpower and Capacity Utilization, Says TrendForce

Currently, the consequences of Xi’an’s lockdown on Samsung is weighted most heavily towards the difficulty of scheduling shifts for personnel, according to TrendForce’s investigations. Due to restrictions on movement and other lockdown measures, Samsung must continue operations with limited manpower. Samsung is currently making active adjustments to reduce impact on output and the local government expects a return to normalcy within one to two weeks. However, if the pandemic is not properly controlled, short-term impact on the production utilization rate of the local factory campus cannot be ruled out, resulting in a slight decline in output. As for raw materials required for production such as water and power, supply seems to remain sufficient, though Samsung is still confirming the specific degree of any impact.

Production has not been interrupted at Samsung’s Xi’an plant, the company’s remedy is reduced operational scale which may affect utilization rate  

Following up on TrendForce’s previous press release, Samsung’s two major NAND Flash fabs in Xi’an are still manufacturing without experiencing significant disruptions at this moment. However, with the local authority enforcing even stricter restrictions on the movements of people, Samsung has been compelled to perform some temporary operational adjustments to the two fabs. With respect to end-products, facilities in the Xi’an region are primarily responsible for the assembly of consumer electronics such as UFS and client SSDs, meaning changes in the Xi’an fabs’ operations will have a direct impact on the procurement activities of smartphone and notebook computer manufacturers. However, as Samsung’s inventory level is still relatively high, the company should be able to keep supplying these products to buyers with no issues in the short run, although the decline in the these products’ prices may moderate somewhat.

Judging by the performance of the NAND Flash spot market on December 29, TrendForce further indicates that most suppliers have now stopped giving price quotes for NAND Flash products after Samsung released an official statement on the Xi’an matter. Regarding the forecast of NAND Flash contract prices for 1Q22, TrendForce will continue to closely monitor responses by Samsung as the pandemic progresses. If the lockdown continues, the decline in NAND Flash contract prices may potentially see a further tapering.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-12-15

NAND Flash ASP Expected to Undergo 10-15% QoQ Decline in 1Q22 as Market Shifts Towards Oversupply, Says TrendForce

Demand for NAND Flash products will undergo a noticeable and cyclical downward correction in 1Q22 as major smartphone brands wind down their procurement activities for the peak season and ODMs prepare for the New Year holidays, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. As such, the NAND Flash market will remain in an oversupply situation, with prices continuing to undergo downward corrections accordingly. However, PC OEMs have been reinstating certain orders for client SSDs since early November in response to improvements in the supply of upstream semiconductor materials. By fulfilling these orders, suppliers are able to keep their inventory level relatively low, meaning they are not under as much pressure as previously expected to reduce inventory by lowering prices. Taking these factors into account, TrendForce expects NAND Flash ASP to undergo a 10-15% QoQ decline in 1Q22, during which NAND Flash prices will experience the most noticeable declines compared to the other quarters in 2022.

Regarding the price trend of NAND Flash products across the whole 2021, TrendForce further indicates that suppliers have actively transitioned their output to higher-layer technologies, resulting in a bit supply growth that noticeably outpaces demand, though the tight supply of components such as controller ICs and PMICs has constrained the production of NAND Flash end-products. Hence, the decline in contract prices of NAND Flash products has not been as severe as previously expected. Moving ahead to 2022, however, the supply of relevant components is expected to gradually improve, so the market for various NAND Flash products will also likely shift towards a noticeable oversupply. As a result, prices of NAND Flash products will steadily decline before the arrival of the peak season in 3Q22.

Client SSD prices will maintain a downward trajectory in 1Q22, by about 5-10% QoQ

While PC OEMs aggressively push out shipments in 4Q21, demand also remains strong for commercial notebooks, in turn propelling the overall volume of notebook production for 4Q21 to 3Q21 levels, surpassing prior expectations. Moving into 1Q22, however, notebook demand from the consumer segment and education segment is expected to moderate, and client SSD buyers’ procurement activities for the quarter will therefore become more conservative. Suppliers, on the other hand, continue to shift the bulk of their client SSD output to 128L and higher layer products as they release the next generation of client SSDs to both capture market share and increase the consumption of these higher-layer products. The average storage capacity of client SSDs will expand to 567GB next year, with WD releasing QLC products alongside existing QLC manufacturers Intel and Micron, in turn intensifying suppliers’ pricing competition. TrendForce therefore expects contract prices of client SSDs to maintain their existing downward trajectory and undergo a 5-10% QoQ decline in 1Q22.

Prices will decrease by about 3-8% QoQ for PCIe enterprise SSDs but hold flat for SATA enterprise SSDs

North American hyperscalers saw their inventory levels rising throughout the fourth quarter as their production capacities for servers were negatively affected by component gaps. In addition, some of these issues are expected to persist in 1Q22, so server shipment for the 4Q21-1Q22 period will experience continued declines, thus putting downward pressure on the growth of enterprise SSD bit demand. As for the supply side, not only has the issue of insufficient PMIC production capacity become gradually alleviated, but hyperscalers have also cut down on their enterprise SSD orders somewhat due to their focus on inventory reduction. Hence, the production capacities for enterprise SSDs with PCIe interface have slowly returned to normal, and room for price negotiations with suppliers is also beginning to surface. Regarding enterprise SSDs with SATA interface, their supply has become relatively tight because manufacturers prioritize the production of high-density PCIe SSDs over SATA SSDs, which feature an older interface and lower density. As such, contract prices of SATA SSDs are unlikely to drop. For 1Q22, TrendForce forecasts an overall 3-8% QoQ decline in enterprise SSD prices, with contract prices of SATA enterprise SSDs mostly holding flat and prices of PCIe products declining by 3-8% QoQ.

eMMC prices will decrease by 5-10% QoQ

TVs, Chromebooks, and other categories of consumer products that carry eMMC solutions have been experiencing sluggish demand in the second half of this year as related subsidies and tenders in the US wind down. The seasonal fluctuations of the demand for consumer products will return to the pre-pandemic pattern next year. Chromebook production is forecasted to show a small rebound in 1Q22 and climb to the year’s peak in 2Q22 in accordance with the traditional seasonal pattern. Even so, the annual total Chromebook production for 2022 will still register a significant decline from the previous year. Turning to TV production, a QoQ decline is projected for 1Q22. Taking account of these demand-related projections, TrendForce expects the demand for eMMC solutions to be fairly weak in 1Q22. The overall production capacity for low-density 2D NAND Flash products has remained relatively constant. Some suppliers continue to scale back 2D NAND Flash production capacity, but they have slowed down the pace of reduction. Regarding the price trend of eMMC solutions, it is now adjusting downward to a stable level after the surge in 2Q21. TrendForce forecasts that contract prices of eMMC solutions will drop again by 5-10% QoQ for 1Q22.

UFS prices will decrease by 8-13% QoQ due to rising supply and falling demand

Component gaps in the upstream sections of the supply chain are still a serious issue affecting smartphone brands’ device production. Despite the contribution from the traditional peak shipment season in the second half of the year, the YoY growth rate of the total smartphone production in 2021 is expected to once again fall short of earlier projections. Looking ahead to 1Q22, Apple is expected to scale back its smartphone-related demand due to seasonality. This, in turn, will negatively affect NAND Flash suppliers’ bit shipments and further weaken mobile storage demand as a whole. The latest examination of product shipments from NAND Flash suppliers indicates that 1XX-L technologies are now mainstream, and 1YY-L technologies will gradually be adopted during 1H22. Micron has skipped 128L in its stacking technology migration and thereby advanced from 96L directly to 176L. To lower production cost and raise bit output, suppliers continue to increase the layer number of their 3D NAND technologies. This means that supply growth will further outstrip demand growth in 1Q22 as the off-season sets in. Hence, TrendForce forecasts that prices of UFS solutions will also register steeper QoQ declines of 8-13% for 1Q22.

NAND Flash wafer prices will decrease by 10-15% QoQ as oversupply becomes more severe

Sales of retail storage products such as UFDs and memory cards have been weak through this entire year. The promotional activities initiated by e-commerce companies for the special events and festivals near the end of the year have generated only a marginal amount of demand. Looking ahead to the early part of 2022, the demand for retail storage products is not expected to gain noticeable momentum before the arrival of Lunar New Year holiday. Additionally, the cryptocurrency market has been energetic, so the demand for graphics cards from cryptocurrency miners has been outpacing supply for the most part. This development has been impacting shipments of DIY PCs and thereby suppressing the demand for retail client SSDs during 2021. In sum, the aforementioned factors have significantly impeded the consumption of NAND Flash wafers. In view of the demand situation in the different application segments, NAND Flash suppliers will likely ramp up wafer shipments to prevent excess inventory. Moving into 1Q22, even if there is sustained demand for storage components in the PC and server segments, smartphone-related demand will shrink further and exacerbate the oversupply situation of the NAND Flash wafer market. TrendForce forecasts that contract prices of 3D NAND Flash wafers will fall by 10-15% QoQ. Among the various NAND Flash products, 3D NAND Flash wafers will suffer the sharpest price drop. It is worth noting that the growing gap between supply and demand is already exerting considerable pressure on some suppliers, so there is a possibility that suppliers could begin dumping products earlier than expected at the end of this year. Such development could help moderate the magnitude of the price downtrend in 1Q22.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

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