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Report: Coronavirus Expected to Lead to RAM, Chip Resistor Price Hikes

(Image credit: Shawn Hempel/Shutterstock)

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is expected to lead to rising component prices throughout 2020, according to DigiTimes, which today reported that the outbreak could exacerbate supply problems for both memory products and chip resistors.

NAND and DRAM prices were already expected to rise in 2020 because of increased demand from smartphone, video game console and graphics card manufacturers. But now memory companies also fear there will be supply problems later this year, DigiTimes said, because of "the quickly spreading coronavirus in South Korea."

SK Hynix quarantined hundreds of employees because of the outbreak. Samsung also had to shut down a factory on February 22 because of COVID-19. Most of the factory reopened on February 25--after it was disinfected to prevent the virus from spreading--but the floor where the affected employee worked remained closed.

MLCCs and chip resistors face a similar problem, according to DigiTimes. Manufacturers were already worried about keeping pace with demand for their products in the wake of the 5G boom; now they also have to contend with production restrictions that have resulted from the outbreak.

DigiTimes explained:

"Even major makers, including Taiwan's Yageo and Walsin Technology, Japan's Murata and South Korea's Semco, now also see low levels of inventory for both components. And they can hardly boost capacity utilization at their plants in China anytime soon amid the virus epidemic, with Murata and Semco even facing challenges in carrying out normal production at plants in their own countries, both of which are now recording ballooning cases of coronavirus infections," DigiTimes said, citing unnamed sources.

That's a problem because resistors are found in, well, everything. Shortages could lead to supply problems (and most likely price increases) for other products as well. Struggling to keep pace with new products made for 5G wireless networks is one thing; contending with a viral outbreak affecting much of Asia is another entirely.

  • Giroro
    People really need to stop panicking over the coronavirus, ignore the clickbait reporting, and look at the actual statistics. The virus isn't that dangerous, its not spreading nearly as rapidly as you are being led to believe, and for the most part the outbreak in china is well past its peak.

    Some of the major media outlets should be held responsible for the damage they cause to both the economy and individuals when they irresponsibly fearmonger to grab fast ad revenue.
    Frankly, there's way more important uses for our resources.
    Did you know that the Ebola Epidemic in the Congo we all freaked out about a year ago is still ongoing, and 68% of the infected have died?
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Yeah, but that does not prevent the tech companies to increase prices if They want to...
    But all in all the price increase comes from increased demand of these product, not because of the virus. The virus will cause delays and shortage for some period of time. But it does not cause long term event unless the situation gets worse.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Giroro said:
    People really need to stop panicking over the coronavirus, ignore the clickbait reporting, and look at the actual statistics. The virus isn't that dangerous, its not spreading nearly as rapidly as you are being led to believe, and for the most part the outbreak in china is well past its peak.
    I definitely I don't agree. With a fatality rate of possibly 2%, it's far more deadly than any recent flu strain, and it seems to be very contagious.

    The only way China contained the outbreak is by quarantining whole cities for about a month. That's not something you want to happen where you live.

    Giroro said:
    Did you know that the Ebola Epidemic in the Congo we all freaked out about a year ago is still ongoing, and 68% of the infected have died?
    Ebola is not nearly as contagious. People with that virus are not infectious until after they start showing symptoms, and you have to come into contact with their bodily fluids.

    I agree that the situation in DRC is alarming, but Ebola doesn't seem to spread in countries that have good health care infrastructure. The problem with DRC is that there's basically a civil war, which prevents government workers from deploying the normal countermeasures of contract-tracing and quarantining.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    hannibal said:
    Yeah, but that dies not prevent the tech companies to increase prices if They want to...
    These are commodity components which are priced according to supply & demand.

    Disruptions in supply will definitely lead to price spikes and (hopefully limited) lack of availability. That, in turn, will cause major disruptions to the revenue streams of all companies in the chain. This sort of thing triggers layoffs and bankruptcies, and those have longer-term economic implications.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    bit_user said:
    I definitely I don't agree. With a fatality rate of possibly 2%, it's far more deadly than any recent flu strain, and it seems to be very contagious.

    The only way China contained the outbreak is by quarantining whole cities for about a month. That's not something you want to happen where you live.

    I think we all can consider ourselves fortunate that we do not live in a Foxconn factory with limited access to food and healthcare.
    Of course my analysis is based on the weak assumption the Chinese numbers and trends are even remotely accurate. For all I know China could be covering up 500,000 infected and 100,000 dead in the Xinjiang concentration camps.

    bit_user said:
    Ebola is not nearly as contagious. People with that virus are not infectious until after they start showing symptoms, and you have to come into contact with their bodily fluids.

    I agree that the situation in DRC is alarming, but Ebola doesn't seem to spread in countries that have good health care infrastructure. The problem with DRC is that there's basically a civil war, which prevents government workers from deploying the normal countermeasures of contract-tracing and quarantining.

    I bring up Ebola not because it's alarming, but because it used to be alarming. Last year everybody was losing their minds about it, then the weather warmed up, we realized it wasn't the end of the world, and moved on.

    We are at a point that even the current administration could use a few dozen sick Americans as justification to ask for billions of dollars in 'emergency coronavirus prevention funding', easily get it with little-to-no scrutiny, and use very loose logic to justify using every cent of it on some personal passion project that won't do anything at all to prevent or fight disease.
    IE viruses are carried by people into the country, therefore anything that prevents movement of people into the country could be justified. So when I say there's a better use of our resources, that really depends on how highly we should prioritize building walls, and who should pay for them.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Giroro said:
    I bring up Ebola not because it's alarming, but because it used to be alarming. Last year everybody was losing their minds about it, then the weather warmed up, we realized it wasn't the end of the world, and moved on.
    Huh? The weather warmed up? No, the outbreak happened in tropical or sub-tropical countries, I'm sure. It had nothing to do with the weather. Not all viral outbreaks are positively correlated with cold weather.

    The reason the Ebola outbreak in 2014 was a big deal is that it had previously only flared up in isolated areas, and this was the first time it spread into more densely populated, well-connected cities. Because of this, it was the largest outbreak, by far, and people honestly didn't know how widely it would spread.

    The reason you stopped hearing about it is because the outbreak was contained and eventually snuffed out. This was accomplished through the diligent work (and funding) of many. And now, there are even Ebola vaccines in use, though I'm not sure how effective they are.

    The DRC outbreak is disconnected from that. Ebola, like many viral diseases, has natural reservoirs in the form of certain animal populations.

    Giroro said:
    We are at a point that even the current administration could use a few dozen sick Americans as justification to ask for billions of dollars in 'emergency coronavirus prevention funding', easily get it with little-to-no scrutiny, and use very loose logic to justify using every cent of it on some personal passion project that won't do anything at all to prevent or fight disease.
    That's one of the criticisms you hear in congress - that the administration's proposal has been lacking in specifics in how they plan to use the money.

    Giroro said:
    when I say there's a better use of our resources, that really depends on how highly we should prioritize building walls, and who should pay for them.
    Congress is not going to write a bill that would allow any of this funding to be used for border walls. I'm sure of that.

    And, besides, the President can apparently use his declared state of emergency to take as much money for it, from pretty much wherever he wants.
    Reply
  • ninjag
    Giroro said:
    People really need to stop panicking over the coronavirus, ignore the clickbait reporting, and look at the actual statistics. The virus isn't that dangerous, its not spreading nearly as rapidly as you are being led to believe, and for the most part the outbreak in china is well past its peak.

    Some of the major media outlets should be held responsible for the damage they cause to both the economy and individuals when they irresponsibly fearmonger to grab fast ad revenue.
    Frankly, there's way more important uses for our resources.
    Did you know that the Ebola Epidemic in the Congo we all freaked out about a year ago is still ongoing, and 68% of the infected have died?

    ^ Idiot
    Reply