According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, NAND Flash contract prices rose steadily throughout 1H'April; with the exception of 64Gb MLC prices, which remained flat, the prices for products such as 32Gb MLC and TLC grew 6-12% compared to 2H'March.
The price uptrend associated with the low density chips is in some ways attributable to the increased output ratio of the 20nm-class NAND Flash products, which officially exceeded 80% in 2Q13. As the production proportion of 64Gb chips rises over 85% following the raised 20nm-class output, and as the content-per-box for the eMMC and SSD products used in smartphones, tablets, and Ultrabooks gradually increases, more and more NAND Flash makers are expected to shift their focus to the production of high-density MLC while paying relatively less attention to its low density counterpart. The various related manufacturers who are currently adopting the new manufacturing processes, it should be noted, are already placing great emphasis on 64Gb chips; this is expected to contribute to a further output decline for the NAND Flash products with low densities.
TrendForce believes that the market supply of 32Gb products will shrink more rapidly following the reduced inventory of the low density chips made using the previous-gen processes. In spite of the lackluster demand and the conservative attitudes displayed towards the memory card and UFD markets during Q2, the 32Gb chip prices showed noticeable growth in 1H’Apr. due to the tightened supply and lowered productions. Unlike the case with the low density chips, the contract prices for the 64Gb chips remained relatively stable throughout the month.
A good majority of the new smartphone and tablet products, according to TrendForce, will be released around May. Seeing as how demand may only begin picking up during end of the second quarter, the Q2 performance of system products is expected to be slightly weaker compared to those of the other products. As more and more manufacturers begin setting their sights on producing chips with densities of 64Gb or more, a slight oversupply situation is likely to arise in the NAND Flash market, which may in turn give rise to a series of potential price reductions. For the low density chips, assuming that the influence of supply-related factors persists after the end of Q2, the price uptrend can be reasonably expected to continue.