Tuesday February 19, 2019

High Inventory Levels of PC DRAM Cause Contract Prices to Drop

The PC DRAM market is experiencing high inventory levels and this oversupply is expected to cause notable price declines in the 1H19. Market demand remains weak due to the off-season and the substantial amount of inventory that has carried over from the previous quarter. Contract prices of DRAM products already declined 15% month-over-month (MoM) in January and are expected to slide lower in February and March. The PC DRAM market is expected to see a 20% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) decline in Q1 2019 while the server DRAM market is forecast to decline nearly 30% QoQ.

According to the latest analysis from DRAMeXchange, the PC DRAM and server DRAM inventory problem will persist into Q2 2019. An extended period is needed to deal with the inventory issues even if some recovery in demand occurs. New emergent technologies that will fuel demand such as 5G and automotive electronics are in the early stages of development. Thus they won't have much influence on the DRAM market in 2019. DRAM suppliers have scaled back their capacity expansions and this is expected to narrow the gap between supply and demand. The price downswing is expected to moderate over the next several quarters. The mobile DRAM market will experience less of a price swing, but the demand for products is still too weak to prevent prices from falling.

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With respect to the price trends in the major application markets, PC DRAM prices are the most sensitive to demand changes and often serve as an indicator of the overall price trajectory. The average QoQ decline in contract prices of PC DRAM products was already 10% in 4Q18 and is projected to be nearly 25% in 1Q19. Currently, the average contract price of mainstream 8GB PC DRAM modules is on its way to under US$45.