Memory chip prices remain weak

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Buyers of memory chips can look forward to stable or falling prices as supply continues to outstrip demand, analysts in Japan say..

DRam prices remain weak and are still well below cash costs throughout the industry, according to analysts from Nomura Securities.

The oversupply will continue as manufacturers invest in upgraded production facilities. Despite this, prices have remained stable during the past two months.

Meanwhile, spot market prices of Nand Flash memory chips have plummeted during the same period, down more than 25 percent for 8Gb chips and 34.4 percent for the older and cheaper 4Gb chips.

Component prices typically fall towards the end of the year as consumer electronics manufacturers wind down production after the Christmas season.

For some other chip types, such as logic chips, the outlook is more positive. Excluding DRam, semiconductor shipment volume rose seven per cent in November 2007.

The US sub-prime loan crisis is already having an effect on chip companies as investors sell off stocks that are particularly sensitive to economic growth and interest rate trends.

A few firms could benefit from a shift in investment funds, however, according to Nomura.

"We think that semiconductors with energy-saving properties or other promising characteristics are likely to post growth well in excess of the semiconductor market average," the company reported.

On this basis, Nomura is particularly optimistic about prospects for Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric and Elpida Memory, among other Japanese semiconductor makers.
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