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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.