The 1H'Dec NAND Flash contract prices have dropped by 1-3% compared to 2H'Nov, according to DRAMeXchange's research analyst, Sean Yang. The average NAND Flash chip prices for the entire month of November were affected by the quarter-end effect in the US market and the underwhelming demand in the industry, and as a result slid by 10-11% from October. With a good number of the module manufacturers being reserved about the Christmas and Chinese New Year shopping periods, their inventory levels also tended to be higher than usual. On the whole, the NAND Flash suppliers' general unwillingness to resort to price reductions following the massive November shipments can be said to have contributed to the relatively unnoticeable decline in the 1H'Dec NAND Flash contract prices.
Looking at the supply side, NAND Flash production in 4Q13 is expected to only grow by 8.3% compared to the preceding quarter. With the migrations to the 1xnm technology intended for eMMC and SSD delayed and the traditional off-peak season approaching, a good majority of the NAND Flash suppliers have become increasingly less willing to raise their production. Because of this, 1Q14 production growth is projected to be only 6.2%, whereas the entire industry growth for 2014 is adjusted to approximately 35.5%.
End demand, as before, will continue to play a significant role in determining the performance of the NAND Flash market. Looking at the future, TrendForce believes that the module manufacturers will remain cautious towards the sales and replenishment momentum of UFDs and memory cards during Chinese New Year, and predicts that the 1Q14 shipments of smartphones, tablets, and notebooks will slide by 10-15% compared to 4Q13. The general attitude displayed towards the first quarter, all in all, will be mostly conservative. As such, the contract price downtrend is unlikely to show any signs of stopping in the short term.