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As memory suppliers continue reallocating capacity away from commodity DRAM production, future output is uncertain and buyers are building up inventory levels in the traditionally weak second quarter to avoid potential supply shortages. As a result, pricing of dynamic random access memory continued to increase in the second half of April, but at a slower pace than earlier.

Mainstream DDR3 4GB module price reached a high of $27, a 13% monthly increase and an over 70% increase since DRAM prices began rising five months ago. Average 4GB price hit $26.5, and transaction volume was impressive, a sign that the uptrend is likely to continue in the short term, according to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce market tracking firm. 2GB modules sold similarly well. 2GB DDR3 price increased 9% over last month, arriving at $15.5.

At press time, one untested [eTT] 2Gb DDR3 chip cost $1.527 on average at Taiwan's spot market, 2Gb DDR3 1333MHz/1600MHz chip's price was approximately $1.694/$1.692, whereas 4Gb DDR3 1600MHz memory IC was priced at $3.170 on average on the spot market. In fact, all spot prices in May are lower than the spot prices in April, which may be a good sign for commodity DRAM.

As the rise of commodity DRAM prices will benefit mobile and server DRAM prices, the highest ASP growth in the DRAM industry in 2013 may occur in the second quarter.

TrendForce forecasts notebook shipments will only experience 4.1% growth in the second quarter, far less than the 10% increase seen in previous years. Although the commodity DRAM price uptrend is expected to continue, the underlying cause has more to do with PC OEMs’ inventory strategies than stimulation from market demand. Thus, the commodity DRAM price trend in the second half of the year is unpredictable; market supply and demand is balanced at the moment, but any changes in the market could throw off price trends.

Tags: DRAM, Business, DDR2, DDR3, Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron, Elpida, Powerchip Semiconductor, Inotera, Nanya

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