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DRAM Market Bulletin_20230111




Now, entering 1Q23, negotiation is ongoing for some quarterly contracts The overall DRAM ASP will certainly fall as demand remains weak

Press Releases
Demand for Display Driver ICs Will Rise over Quarters in 2023 as Panel Industry Recovers from Slump, Says TrendForce



According to TrendForce’s analysis of the supply chain for display panels, demand slowed dramatically in 2Q22 and thereby caused inventory level to rise sharply for display driver ICs (DDIs) within a short period However, the market for DDIs is in a notably better state now in 1Q23 following two to three quarters of price decline, reduction in wafer input, and inventory consumption Moreover, the first quarter is the critical period when DDI suppliers set their wafer input quantities In order to effectively meet the demand for 2H23, DDI suppliers will need to finish arranging orders with their foundry partners by the end of 1Q23 Regarding the whole 2023, the general outlook on geopolitics and the global economy is still rather pessimistic Also, panel demand is not expected to climb back to the peak that it reached before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic However, TrendForce believes that since panel prices have pretty much hit the bottom, the panel market as a whole will recover gradually over the quarters Later, with the arrival of the traditional peak season in 3Q23, demand is anticipated to rise significantly in the panel market Hence, the corresponding demand for DDIs will rebound as well According to TrendForce’s investigation, inventory began to surge for DDI suppliers in 2Q22, extending to more than 6 months DDI suppliers therefore had to immediately revise their wafer input quantities Working panel makers, DDI suppliers were urgently seeking a solution to clear excess inventory Turning to foundries, DDI suppliers were scaling back wafer input Even under the consequences of recognizing their inventory losses or compensating foundries for not meeting the terms of their long-term agreements, DDI suppliers were steadfast in reducing their existing stocks so as to minimize the impact from the rapidly deteriorating market situation Based on TrendForce’s observations, DDI suppliers did manage to begin lowering their inventory levels Although they found that the general pace of inventory reduction was slower than they had hoped, the traditional peak season together with holiday-related promotions around the end of 2022 helped clear a notable amount of excess stock In case of DDIs for large-sized TV panels, a gradual return to an optimal inventory level is expected within 1Q23 Regarding the general price trend of DDIs, it was on a slide through 2022The cost pressure on DDI suppliers had been very heavy due to two major factors First, foundries had earlier raised wafer prices in response to the pandemic-related chip shortage Second, the demand freeze in 2Q22 caused an inventory pile-up Despite this strong cost pressure, DDI suppliers were compelled to slash prices because of the massive demand correction and the collapse of panel prices Hence, prices of DDIs fell by 5~10% for every quarter of 2022 Currently, prices of DDIs have returned to almost the level where they began their pandemic-induced rally in 2020 Apart from this, gross margin has also shrunk considerably for DDIs In this situation, most DDI suppliers are still compelled to cut prices further even if their foundry partners opt to not make significant concessions on wafer quotes In order to capture a steady flow of demand over the long run, DDI suppliers might even offer quotes that are below the market average for some transactions On the other hand, the erosion of gross margin has become notable, so there is a limit to how far prices can go down TrendForce also points out that the lead time for DDI orders can extend to around three months To meet a panel maker’s demand for a particular quarter, a DDI supplier will have to be ready to make the corresponding wafer input no later than at the start of the quarter before Hence, a sudden shift in supply-demand dynamics is a potential issue that warrants consideration Presently, DDI suppliers are sticking with a conservative wafer input plan because they still want further lower their inventories At the same time, there are uncertainties as to the amount of demand that will be released in the future So, there is a risk of delays in wafer input for DDIs if foundries do not set aside sufficient production capacity to process orders for these chips After all, foundries could allocate more production capacity to other kinds of semiconductor components like power management ICs Under such scenario, an influx of orders from panel makers could lead to tight supply or even shortage For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
QoQ Decline in DRAM ASP Will Moderate to Around 13~18% for 1Q23, but Slump Will Continue, Says TrendForce



TrendForce’s latest analysis of the DRAM market finds that the inventory pressure on suppliers remain significant due to the persistently weak demand for consumer electronics Among the top three DRAM suppliers, only Samsung has seen a slight drop in inventory level thanks to its highly competitive pricing strategy To prevent DRAM prices as a whole from making another sharp dive, a few suppliers such as Micron have been cutting production Therefore, the QoQ decline in DRAM prices are projected to shrink to around 13~18% for 1Q23 However, the slump will have yet to reach the bottom at that time Regarding the QoQ changes in the prices of the major categories of DRAM products for 1Q23, PC DRAM and server DRAM are projected to again register a drop that is near 20% Conversely, mobile DRAM will experience the smallest price decline because its profit margin is ready the thinnest In the PC DRAM segment, PC OEMs have lowered procurement quantity for two consecutive quarters as sales of notebook (laptop) computers have been lackluster Now, moving into 1Q23, PC OEMs hold around 9~13 weeks of PC DRAM inventory Even though they are working hard to consume the existing stock, the traditional low season acts a powerful constraint The overall PC DRAM bit output is expected to fall during 1Q23 because Micron has already made a marginal cut to its PC DRAM production, and SK Hynix will soon follow suit However, supply glut will still be significant in the PC DRAM segment The top three suppliers have been aggressive in lowering prices for DDR5 products, so the DDR5 penetration rate in the PC DRAM segment is projected to reach almost 20% in 1Q23 Regarding QoQ changes in PC DRAM prices for 1Q23, DDR5 products will experience a drop of around 18~23%, and DDR4 products will experience a drop of around 15~20% The ASP of PC DRAM products is projected to fall by around 15~20% QoQ for 1Q23 Turning to the server DRAM segment, server demand is going to fall during 1Q23 because of the effects of the traditional low season, inventory adjustments, and the recent weakening of the global economy North American cloud service providers have already started to dial down server demand in terms of procurement quantity and the pace of server deployment However, suppliers continue to raise the share of server DRAM in production, so this segment continues to face mounting inventory pressure While some suppliers are cutting production, this is not enough to effectively limit the decline in server DRAM prices Regarding QoQ changes in server DRAM prices for 1Q23, DDR5 products are expected to suffer a decline of 18~23%, which is slightly larger compared with the projected drop experienced by DDR4 products for the same period However, the DDR5 penetration rate in the server DRAM segment is projected to reach just around 10% in 1Q23 Thus, DDR4 products are going to determine the extent of the general decline Currently, the ASP of server DRAM products is projected to fall by around 15~20% QoQ for 1Q23 The mobile DRAM segment has benefited from about six quarters of inventory adjustments on the part of smartphone brands Currently, smartphone brands hold 5~7 weeks of mobile DRAM inventory on average, so the inventory situation is fairly optimal On the other hand, smartphone sales have been in a slump A rebound is not expected in the short term, especially after the latest change in China’s policy on controlling COVID-19 outbreaks With smartphone brands lowering their device sales targets for 2023, there will be a certain degree of difficulty when it comes to inventory consumption in the mobile DRAM segment However, mobile DRAM quotes are starting to show a more moderate decline than before because suppliers have scaled back production, and the effect of this will become more prominent over time Moreover, mobile DRAM already has the lowest profit margin compared with other categories of DRAM products Since the market consensus is that the demand for mobile DRAM products will remain weak, slashing prices further will do little in helping suppliers to capture more market share Hence, TrendForce projects that the QoQ decline in mobile DRAM prices will narrow to around 10~15% for 1Q23 With regard to the graphics DRAM segment, shipments are going to ramp up for graphics cards and notebook computers featuring the latest GPUs However, the overall demand for consumer electronics is sluggish, and the previous period for inventory adjustments was quite long Therefore, graphics DRAM buyers maintains a cautious procurement strategy Furthermore, demand growth still lagged behind supply growth in graphics DRAM segment during 4Q22, so inventory continues to pile up for this product category on the supply side Additionally, for the specifications of the mainstream graphics DRAM solutions, there will be a full-scale shift in buyers’ demand from GDDR6 8Gb to GDDR6 16Gb during 2023 With the demand for them becoming more limited, graphics DRAM products based on GDDR6 8Gb will experience more dramatic price fluctuations TrendForce currently projects that the ASP of graphics DRAM products will fall by about 18~23% QoQ for 1Q23, but the decline could get larger if suppliers continue to undercut each other in this segment Lastly, in the consumer DRAM segment, prices have yet to leave the downturn phase as there are no signs of buyers ramping up procurement activities Also, the flow of consumer DRAM orders related to networking devices was steady before but has now started to gradually decelerate this first quarter Due to these developments, shipments of consumer DRAM products on the whole are going to slide Even though Micron began to cut production in November last year, suppliers’ DRAM inventories have been climbing to new heights This segment will continue to experience excess supply unless suppliers undergo several quarters of inventory adjustments and make larger production cuts TrendForce projects that the ASP of consumer DRAM products will fall by 18~23% QoQ for 1Q23 as supply glut persists in this segment 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@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
Production Capacity for Power Management ICs Will Grow by 4.7% YoY for 1H23 as Automotive Products Act as Solitary Demand Pillar, Says TrendForce



The effect of the low season, the planned scale-back of capital expenditure on the part of enterprises, and the ongoing slump in the wider consumer electronics market are going to constrain the demand for power management ICs during 1H23 On the supply side, Texas Instruments (TI) as the leading supplier for power management ICs will be activating the newly added production capacity at its production sites RFAB2 and LFAB in the same period Given this circumstance, TrendForce projects that the global production capacity for power management ICs will increase by 47% YoY for 1H23 In the market for power management ICs, falling demand for products belonging to consumer electronics, networking devices, and industrial equipment continues to generate downward pressure on prices Consequently, quotes for power management IC orders are projected to register a sequential drop of 5~10% during 1H23 Conversely, demand remains stable for automotive products thanks to the trend of vehicle electrification Even though the weakening of the wider economy is causing uncertainties across the whole automotive market, prices are not expected to fluctuate significantly because of buyers and sellers of automotive products have mostly established long-term partnerships Therefore, the demand coming from the automotive market is going to emerge as the only major driving force behind sales of power management ICs Major IDMs Control 63% of Power Management IC Market Suppliers for power management ICs are diverse and include the major international IDMs as well as fabless IC design companies Suppliers that are IDMs include TI, ADI, Infineon, Renesas, Onsemi (onsemi), STMicroelectronics (ST), and NXP Suppliers that are fabless IC design companies include Qualcomm, MPS, MediaTek, Anpec, GMT, Leadtrend, Weltrend, Silergy, BPS, and SG Micro By shipment market share, IDMs collectively control 63% of the global market for power management ICs; and among them, TI is the leader with a 22% global market share TI has the advantages of having a diverse range of offerings, a consistently high product quality, and an ample amount of production capacity Thus, it exerts an enormous influence over the global power management IC market Looking at the general price trend of power management ICs in 2022, IDMs were able to further push up the ASP in response to rising inflation Conversely, quotes from fabless IC design companies were first to show a weakening trend Suppliers Are Cutting Prices to Drive Sales of Power Management ICs for Consumer Electronics; Automotive Products and Industrial Equipment Are the Only Applications That Exhibit Stable Demand TrendForce points out that prices of power management ICs for consumer electronics (eg, laptop computers, tablets, TVs, and smartphones) began to drop in 3Q22, with the QoQ decline coming to 3~10% In 4Q22, prices fell by another 5~10% QoQ for a wide range of consumer power management ICs (eg, those related to AC-DC, DC-DC, LDO, buck, boost, PWM, and battery charger) Besides this development, demand also began to weaken for power management ICs used in networking devices and most kinds of industrial equipment The only applications that still exhibited stable demand were a very few specific kinds of industrial equipment (eg, military hardware) and automotive products At that time, order visibility for these application was already extended to 2Q23 And there were no notable attempts to drive sales of related power management ICs through price cutting However, TrendForce also notes that IDMs together hold a market share of more than 83% for power management ICs embedded in industrial equipment and automotive products Fabless IC design companies for the most part still have difficulties in penetrating into these particular market segments, but their efforts have been aggressive as the overall demand for consumer electronics remains depressed Currently, fabless IC design houses are working hard to get their new automotive and industrial power management ICs qualified as soon as possible Regarding the lead time for power management IC orders, TrendForce’s latest investigation finds that fabless IC design houses now have an average lead time of 12~28 weeks Moreover, existing stock is so large for some models of power management ICs that fabless IC design houses can begin shipments right after receiving the incoming order Turning to IDMs, they still mostly have a longer lead time For power management ICs belonging to non-automotive applications, IDMs have a lead time of 20~40 weeks For power management ICs belonging to automotive applications, IDMs have a lead time of more than 32 weeks On the whole, orders are still in the allocation status for automotive power management ICs that come from very few suppliers and have a drawn-out process for chip manufacturing, module assembly, and qualification 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@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
QoQ Decline in NAND Flash ASP Will Narrow to Around 10~15% as Suppliers’ Production Cuts Take Effect, Says TrendForce



TrendForce’s latest analysis of the NAND Flash market finds that most suppliers have already started to scale back production Due to this development, the vicious cycle of suppliers undercutting each other has been brought under control to some degree as well Therefore, the QoQ decline in the overall NAND Flash ASP for 1Q23 is currently projected to reach 10~15%, which is smaller than the QoQ decline for 4Q22 Regarding price trends of different NAND Flash products in 1Q23, prices of NAND Flash wafers are already at the cash cost level, so their decline will moderate sooner compared with other kinds of NAND Flash products Conversely, prices of enterprise SSDs will suffer the sharpest drop compared with other kinds of NAND Flash products because they represent a major source of inventory consumption and offer a relatively high profit margin NAND Flash suppliers have been aggressively cutting production because the whole NAND Flash market witnessed a price collapse during 2H22 Also, compared with DRAM, NAND Flash has more price elasticity of demand Therefore, price slump will end sooner for NAND Flash than for DRAM With regard to the client SSD segment, brands for notebook (laptop) computers have been passive in stocking up on SSDs because the demand for their devices is expected to remain fairly weak through 2023 Furthermore, the growth of the demand bits related to client SSDs will decelerate further moving into 2023, so the effect of suppliers’ production cuts on this segment is not expected to become immediately noticeable Therefore, supply will continue to outstrip demand for client SSDs In the aspect of product development, the mainstream products in the client SSD segment during 2023 are still going to be 512GB in capacity and based on the 176L 3D NAND technology Turning to cell architecture, QLC products have undergone some improvements in performance However, this also has the effect of exacerbating the decline in prices of 512GB SSDs Going forward, prices of client SSDs on the whole will keep falling as more suppliers offer higher-layer QLC products On the other hand, TrendForce has observed that some suppliers that have initiated production cuts are able to hold firm on prices of client SSDs Hence, the QoQ decline in prices of client SSDs will shrink to around 10~15% for 1Q23 In the enterprise SSD segment, buyers have repeatedly corrected down their orders since 4Q22 because server shipments have been sliding Furthermore, the built-out of data centers in China slowed down noticeably in 2022 due to the interferences caused by local COVID-19 outbreaks and government policies As a result, China’s demand for enterprise SSDs in 2022 was weaker compared with 2021 To alleviate the problem of excess inventory, suppliers made larger price concessions for 4Q22 enterprise SSD contracts in exchange for larger procurement quantities from North American buyers However, this move has taken away a portion of the demand that is reserved for 1Q23 Since the ASP of enterprise SSDs is still higher than the ASPs of various consumer NAND Flash products, suppliers still want to ramp up shipments of the former in order to maintain profitability There is a now fierce price competition in the enterprise SSD market as suppliers seek to capture more market share As a result, enterprise SSDs will also suffer the steepest price drop among NAND Flash products for 1Q23, with the QoQ decline coming to around 13~18% Looking at the eMMC segment, the main sources of demand there are Chromebooks, TVs and networking devices Presently, these applications are not providing sufficient growth momentum to prop up eMMC prices In view of the persistently high inventory level for this kind of storage product, NAND Flash suppliers are willing to slash prices as long as there is still some room for profit TrendForce also points out that some module houses are undercutting eMMC prices in China with products made from low-priced wafers This kind of competition is exerting a certain amount of pressure on NAND Flash suppliers as well On the other hand, prices of low-capacity eMMC solutions are near the cost level, so there is not much room for further drops Going forward, the downward price pressure will concentrate on solutions that are 64GB or higher in capacity TrendForce projects that eMMC prices on the whole will drop by 10~15% QoQ for 1Q23 Turning to the UFS segment, the demand for smartphones is still in a slump, so most smartphone brands intend to keep their procurements of UFS solutions for the whole 2023 around the same amount as for 2022 Thus, the demand outlook of this segment for 2023 is lackluster Looking ahead, NAND Flash suppliers will continue to vigorously promote UFS solutions since the steady increase in the average NAND Flash content of smartphones has contributed significantly to the bit consumption of the entire NAND Flash market In particular, suppliers hope that there is sufficient price incentive to encourage Chinese smartphone brands to upgrade the storage capacity of their devices TrendForce has observed that the number of smartphone models featuring a 256GB storage capacity has risen, but these mostly belong to the high-end and flagship segments This trend will probably become more noticeable later on as smartphone brands launch new devices for 2H23 In general, the UFS segment will remain in oversupply during 1H23 TrendForce projects that prices of UFS solutions will drop by 10~15% QoQ for 1Q23 Lastly, in the NAND Flash wafer segment, module houses presently exhibit weak procurement momentum At the same time, sales have been depressed for retail SSDs and memory cards The effect of suppliers’ production cuts is expected to become more apparent in 1Q23, but strong inventory pressure is going to keep wafer prices low in the short term On the other hand, prices are now at the cash cost level for wafers that are mainstream in density NAND Flash suppliers are also selling at a loss for some large wafer transactions Going forward, suppliers will be more reluctant to accept deals that entail a loss as the overall supply-demand dynamics gradually returns to a balance TrendForce projects that contract prices of NAND Flash wafers will drop by about 3~8% QoQ for 1Q23 Compared with other categories of NAND Flash products, wafers will experience the smallest decline in 1Q23 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@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

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