SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The NAND rally continues. Vendors continue to increase their component prices, while SanDisk Corp. separately raised its flash card tags, according to an analyst.
In the first quarter of 2009, NAND prices jumped by as much as 60 percent. Now, amid component shortages--and reported ''quality issues'' at the Intel-Micron joint venture--NAND prices could jump again in Q2, said Daniel Amir, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets.
''Our checks suggest that Toshiba has cut production more than 30 percent, which it previously forecast, and it anticipates cutting an additional 10 percent in coming weeks,'' Amir said in a report. ''Also, due to quality issues at the 32-nm line at MU/INTC, there is a slight component shortage in the market.''
Micron Technology Inc. dismissed the report, claiming that it is not having any problems with NAND. Micron said the report is also inaccurate. Micron and Intel Corp. have a joint NAND venture, dubbed IM Flash Technologies LLC. The production takes place in a fab in Lehi, Utah.
''First off, the process technology is 34-nm, not 32-nm,'' according to a spokeswoman for Micron. ''From what I found out, we are not experiencing any quality issues. In fact, we are 100-percent converted from 50-nm to 34-nm at IMFT-Lehi.''
Still, the net result from the buzz? ''Industry players expect that NAND component pricing could increase an additional 30-to-40 percent in 2Q, on top of the current 60 percent move in 1Q,'' Amir said.
''In recent days, we have learned that SanDisk is starting to increase card pricing to distributors as much as 15 percent for 2GB and 4GB MicroSD cards,'' he added. ''We believe that SanDisk retail card prices, which currently sell at a 20 percent discount, will likely see an increase of 10-to-15 percent in coming weeks as SanDisk begins to raise pricing to retailers. Card inventory is at less than three weeks.''