The stay-at-home economy remains robust due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so the sales of gaming products such as game consoles and the demand for related components are being kept at a decent level, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. However, the values of cryptocurrencies have plummeted in the past two months because of active interventions from many governments, with the graphics DRAM market entering into a bearish turn in 3Q21 as a result. While graphics DRAM prices in the spot market will likely show the most severe fluctuations, contract prices of graphics DRAM are expected to increase by 10-15% QoQ in 3Q21 since DRAM suppliers still prioritize the production of server DRAM over other product categories, and the vast majority of graphics DRAM supply is still cornered by major purchasers.
The ramp-up of the Intel Ice Lake and AMD Milan processors is expected to not only propel growths in server shipment for two consecutive quarters from 2Q21 to 3Q21, but also drive up the share of high-density products in North American hyperscalers’ enterprise SSD purchases, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In China, procurement activities by domestic hyperscalers Alibaba and ByteDance are expected to increase on a quarterly basis as well. With the labor force gradually returning to physical offices, enterprises are now placing an increasing number of IT equipment orders, including servers, compared to 1H21. Hence, global enterprise SSD procurement capacity is expected to increase by 7% QoQ in 3Q21. Ongoing shortages in foundry capacities, however, have led to the supply of SSD components lagging behind demand. At the same time, enterprise SSD suppliers are aggressively raising the share of large-density products in their offerings in an attempt to optimize their product lines’ profitability. Taking account of these factors, TrendForce expects contract prices of enterprise SSDs to undergo a staggering 15% QoQ increase for 3Q21.
The recent wave of COVID-19 outbreaks in India has weakened sales of retail storage products such as memory cards and USB drives, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. However, demand remains fairly strong in the main application segments due to the arrival of the traditional peak season and the growth in the procurement related to data centers. Hence, the sufficiency ratio of the entire market has declined further. NAND Flash suppliers have kept their inventories at a healthy level thanks to clients’ stock-up activities during the past several quarters. Moreover, the ongoing shortage of NAND Flash controller ICs continues to affect the production of finished storage products. Taking account of these demand-side and supply-side factors, TrendForce forecasts that contract prices of NAND Flash products will rise marginally for 3Q21, with QoQ increases in the range of 5-10%.
As third quarters have typically been peak seasons for the production of various end-products, the sufficiency ratio of DRAM is expected to undergo a further decrease in 3Q21, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. However, DRAM buyers are now carrying a relatively high DRAM inventory due to their amplified purchases of electronic components in 1H21. The QoQ increase in DRAM contract prices are hence expected to slightly narrow from 18-23% in 2Q21 to 3-8% in 3Q21. Looking ahead to 4Q21, TrendForce believes that DRAM supply will continue to rise, thereby leading to either a further narrowing of price hikes or pressure constraining the potential price hike of DRAM products.
The indefinite extension of Malaysia’s MCO (movement control order) 3.0 has posed severe challenges for the global MLCC market, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. The high-end MLCC segment, in particular, is expected to suffer the most severe shortage, and products that feature high-end MLCC, such as smartphones, notebooks, networking products, server, and 5G base station components, will likely experience a corresponding impact as well. With the imminent arrival of the traditional peak season for electronic products, ODMs may need to defer their whole-unit shipments due to potential delays in some MLCC shipments.