NAND flash prices could reverse their decline in the next quarter, according to DRAMeXchange, which said on Friday that Toshiba's production base still hasn't resumed normal operations after a June 15 power outage. Decreased output from Toshiba's fabs is expected to lead to higher quotes for wafers in the short-term, as well as price increases for 2D and 3D NAND in Q3 2019.
Fab 2, Fab 3, Fab 4, Fab 5 and Fab 6 were affected by the 13-minute power outage in June. That might not seem like a long time, but for companies as large as Toshiba, even the smallest delay can lead to supply issues months down the line. Western Digital announced on June 28 that it expects its flash wafer availability to decline by six exabytes, or 1 billion gigabytes, as a result of the power outage.
DRAMeXchange expects the 2D NAND market to feel this decline in wafer availability the most. The popularization of 3D NAND has led many companies to keep less 2D NAND in their inventories, so they don't have large reserves to fall back on in the power outage's wake. The research firm now "expects some impetus for suppliers to raise quotes on 2D NAND products" Q3 2019 as a result.
Things are (kind of) looking better for the 3D NAND market. For Q4, DRAMeXchange expects "contract prices will trend flat or drop slightly according to current assessments." That's largely because low demand from consumers for mainstream 3D NAND products means "the inventory level for these products is high on both the demand and supply ends."
DRAMeXchange also said Toshiba and Western Digital can expect "some loss of confidence from their downstream clients" because "the reliability of their production lines is now under doubt as the base is not resuming normal operation as quickly as can be reasonably expected for a leading-edge semiconductor plant." All because of a 13-minute power outage.