According to TrendForce investigations into the DRAM market, under pressure from ever-increasing output, Korean manufacturers have significantly increased their willingness to compromise on pricing in order to stimulate buying from distributors and customers, leading to a steady expansion of falling prices. In addition to Korean manufacturers enthusiastically slashing prices, low-priced chips from the spot market are also circulating in the market. Other suppliers have no choice but to follow suit and fervently reduce pricing for sales, rapidly exacerbating the 3Q consumer DRAM price drop from the original estimate of 8~13% to a quarterly decline of 13-18%.
According to TrendForce research, Intel plans to outsource the tGPU chipset in Meteor Lake to TSMC for manufacture. Mass production of this product was initially planned for 2H22 but was later postponed to 1H23 due to product design and process verification issues. Recently, the product’s mass production schedule has been postponed again to the end of 2023 for some reason, nigh completely cancelling 3nm production capacity originally booked in 2023 with only a marginal amount of wafer input remaining for engineering verification.
According to TrendForce, DRAM market demand bit growth will only amount to 8.3% in 2023, sub-10% for the first time in history, and far lower than supply-side bit growth of approximately 14.1%. Data indicates the DRAM market to be severely oversupplied at least in 2023 and prices may continue to decline. NAND Flash is still in a state of oversupply and, although prices are expected to fall in the first half of next year, NAND Flash has built-in price elasticity compared to DRAM and average prices are expected to stimulate density growth in the enterprise SSD market after declining for several consecutive quarters. Demand bits are expected to grow by 28.9%, while supply bits will grow by approximately 32.1%.
The disruption of the chip supply chain caused by the pandemic in the past two years, as well as geopolitical flashpoints such as Sino-US trade frictions and the Russia-Ukraine war, have led regional economies worldwide to focus more on the autonomy of local production and supply chains. According to TrendForce research, in terms of 12-inch equivalent production capacity in various regions around the world, Taiwan will account for approximately 43% of capacity by 2025, followed by China at 27%, the United States at 8%, and South Korea at 12%. In terms of advanced process capacity below 7nm (inclusive), Taiwan will account for approximately 69% by 2025, South Korea 18%, the United States 12%, and China 1%. Compared with the landscape in 2022, it is obvious that the United States will increase its proportion of advanced process production capacity in the next three years, while China will focus on mature processes.
According to TrendForce, market oversupply intensified in 2Q22 due to lagging demand and continued NAND Flash output and process advancement. The market consensus is a disappointing 2H22 peak season for consumer electronics including notebooks, TVs, and smartphones. Material inventory levels continue to rise and has become a risk to the supply chain. Due to slow destocking among distributors and a conservative stocking approach among clients, inventory problems have bubbled over upstream onto the supply side and sellers are under increased pressure to sell. TrendForce estimates, due to the rapid deterioration of the balance between supply and demand, the drop in NAND Flash pricing will expand to 8~13% in 3Q22, and this decline may continue into 4Q22.