SAN FRANCISCOóDRAM vendors are cutting capacity or devoting more manufacturing capability to making wafers for other firms on a foundry basis amid plummeting DRAM prices, according to DRAMeXchange, a market reserach division of TrendForce.
According to the firm, the contract price for a 4-GB DDR3 DRAM hit $36.50 in May after recovering from the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan. But the contract price has been on a downward trend since, falling to $16.50 in December, a 55 percent decline from May, DRAMeXchange said.
According to TrendForce statistics, global DRAM wafer start volume has fallen from the high of 1.5 million starts per month in 2008 to a forecasted low of 1 million starts per month in 2012, representing a decrease of 33 percent. DRAM wafer starts this month are projected to be close to the low reached during the financial crisis of 2009, 986,000, the firm said.
Taiwanese DRAM makers have made the largest capacity cuts, from a high of 450,000 starts per month on average in 2011 to December's 250,000 starts, a decrease of 44 percent, DRAMeXchange said. The industry's capacity cuts were all on commodity DRAM products, which is quickly improving the severe oversupply situation, DRAMeXchange said.