SAN FRANCISCOŚNorth Korea's Nov. 23 shelling of a South Korean military base on Yeonpyeong Island resulted in price increases for high-density NAND flash memory parts and solid-state drives (SSDs), according to a report by Westwood Marketing LLC.
A Westwood Marketing survey of NAND pricing conducted on Nov. 26 showed significant increases on 8-Gbit and 128-Gbit densities and modest increases across middle range densities. Pricing on low-density legacy devices has been the rise for several months due to shrinking supply, but the increase in 128-Gbit prices can be attributed to rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, according to Westwood Marketing (Englewood, Colo.).
Tensions in Korea have been on the rise since the shelling, in which four people were killed. If the situation devolves into a "hot war" between North Korea and South Korea, 50 percent of the world's NAND production could be at risk, Westwood Marketing said.
Bob Witkow, president of Westwood Marketing, said his firm has been focused on the acceleration of NAND price erosion since Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk announced increased capex budgets and new fab construction several months ago.
"We forecast accelerated price erosion and a 'fire sale' in December," Witkow said. "Everything was falling into place until those doggone North Koreans decided to upset the apple cart." Witkow said lower NAND prices lead to greater and wider adoption, while higher prices slow growth.
Prices for legacy 8-bit NAND parts have been on the rise because major DRAM vendors are shifting production lines to produce more advanced parts, tightening the supply of older parts, according to Westwood Marketing.