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Upside of the Downturn Break Out: Memory and LCDs on the rise


As we become well entrenched in the halfway mark for 2009, the promises of 2H09 showing relief and recovery are happily bearing fruit. 

News from the wire and in the markets is showing not only truly healthy inventory levels for memory, but even more importantly, strengthening demand to the point that ASP increases are holding for both DRAM and NAND.  In DRAM, DDR2 pricing has been rising as supply is tightening with back to school orders and shorts helping to support 10% rises in DRAM pricing over at least the immediate-short term (see this Circuits Assembly article for publically available details).  Also, on 5 Aug. 2009, DigiTimes cited DRAMeXchange as stating that "DRAM revenues grew 27.1% sequentially to US$4.04 billion in the second quarter of 2009, when the average price at the contract market went up by 23% [...] which attributed the price rally to suppliers' production cutbacks and PC OEMs replenishing inventories."

NAND is also doing well, particularly flash for cell phones.  We've been watching the cell phone market for a while, see also the recent MarketWatch Quarterly here and here, so while this doesn't come as a surprise to regular readers, it's certainly welcome news.  The best part of this news is iSuppli's 2008-2013 forecast of a sixfold increase in global sales.  Wow.  Even more astounding is their prediction of a CAGR of 41.4% for the 2008-2013 period, as stated here).  All this based on the nearly fivefold increase in NAND storage amounts in the average cell phone from 1Gb to almost 5.8Gb for the same period.

But wait, there's more!  It's not just memory that's having a good run in the markets, some TFT LCDs are also showing strengthening revenue numbers, according to Circuits Assembly, "large-area (10" and larger) TFT LCD shipments reached 130 million units in the second quarter, up 10% year-over-year and 42% sequentially, says DisplaySearch."  Furthermore, "'We expect that strong demand will push panel shipments to another record high in the third quarter. However, strong panel shipments in some cases are due to downstream players piling up inventory, so we believe it will be necessary to watch the supply chain inventory situation closely at the end of the third quarter,' said David Hsieh, vice president of DisplaySearch."

All interesting and good news with some legs that ought to carry us forward.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 07 August 2009 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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