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Speciality DRAM Prices Expected to Rise Throughout 2021

Shutterstock DRAM image
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

DigiTimes today reported that DRAM prices are expected to rise throughout 2021 as Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron maintain flash memory production levels despite increasing demand.

The report claimed that suppliers are cautious about building additional DRAM capacity which could result in limited global bit output growth. Demand for flash memory is expected to rise in the coming months.

DigiTimes reported that for the first quarter of 2021, spot prices for speciality DRAM chips have risen and supply has fallen short of demand. Things aren't expected to improve in upcoming quarters.

The report meshes with comments made by Micron CFO David Zinsner at a Morgan Stanley technology conference on Wednesday. Zinsner said he expects supply to be taut all year, according to Seeking Alpha, which "bodes well" for DRAM pricing.

Micron previously said that first quarter memory bit shipments would be reduced by the power outage and earthquake that affected two fabs in Taiwan in December 2020. Those reductions were all but guaranteed to result in higher DRAM prices.

Sources believe speciality DRAM prices will continue to rally through 2022 because currently quotes for wafers are far lower than the $3,000 peak set in 2018. 

DRAM pricing can be hard to predict, especially that far into the future. Does this seem like the year for anything to happen as expected in a market so volatile that a one-hour-long power outage at a single fab can raise prices?

Supply constraints have already limited the availability of CPUs, GPUs, and the devices they're found inside. Now manufacturers will have to contend with limited flash memory supply, too, and it's hard to see how that "bodes well" for anyone other than the companies enjoying these increased prices while they last.