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2009 WW DRAM CAPEX expected to cut 40% to 50%, says DRAMeXchange

15 January 2009 Semiconductors

Taipei, January 6, 2000 --- According to DRAMeXchange, in the spot market, DDR2 1Gb eTT chip price has increased from the lowest 0.59 USD to recent 0.92 USD, a range of 56% since Mid December (12/15-1/6). DDR2 667 Mhz 1Gb chip price also rallied from 0.58 USD to 0.78 USD with the range of 34%. From the market aspect, although Asia was left to play the role while U.S and European markets were closed during Christmas and New Year holiday, chip price still remained steady without sharp decline. DRAM spot prices will remain in a steady uptrend. Furthermore, spot market focused Taiwanese DRAM vendors held their shipment volume control direction unchanged since the current chip prices were still lower than their cash cost which is about 1.3 to 1.5 USD. In order to maintain cash level and the chip price, the necessity of shipment control remains. On the capacity cut side, after PSC announced its capacity cut in September, Elpida, Promos, Nanya, and Inotera all followed, and the total WW DRAM capacity cut was about 20%. Since the Taiwanese vendors were the major spot market suppliers and their 29% capacity cut were the highest among all vendors, hence the spot market supply decreased 36%, which was more stunning than the 19% supply decrease of the contract market .The double influence of back from the holidays of the U.S. and the European markets and the Chinese New Year buying will be the positive factors of the coming spot market.

In the contract market, the DRAM vendors hope the steadiness of the spot price can help stopping the contract price from its continuous downtrend. But with the PC slow season Q1 and the influence of global financial crisis, most PC OEMs had already revised their shipment target downward. Even the annual growth rate of NB may fall from 20% in 2008 to negative growth in 2009, which brings more uncertainties to the 1H January contract price. By the upside momentum of the spot price, many DRAM vendors intend to raise the 1H January contract price from US$ 7.5 to US$ 8, a range of 6-7% and are actively negotiating with PC OEMs.

DRAMeXchange analyses' says that with the coming of 2009, DRAM vendors will announce their CAPEX one after another in Q1. Although the Q408 financial reports have not been published yet, WW DRAM industry CAPEX is sure to be cut and expected to be about 40% to 50%, since WW DRAM industry lost eight billion USD from Q1 to Q3 in the year 2008. Taiwanese vendors such as PSC and Rexchip will delay their 50 nm process schedule and only proceed with the 65 nm process migration to not only maintain competitiveness but also to sharply decrease CAPEX. Although Nanya and Inotera will switch to Micron’s stack technology and won’t be able to cut their CAPEX sharply, they may adopt the technology migrations with more steps such as taking 68 nm first and later deciding the 50 nm process upon the market situation. As the international DRAM vendors are taking into account, except the DDR3 will migrate to 50 nm process, Elpida leaves its DDR2 with the original 65 nm and 70 nm processes. Samsung also plans to cut CAPEX and definitely will influence its migration from 68 nm to 56 nm process and its plan of the DDR3 market share elevation.

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