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NAND flash demand to be sluggish for first half of '14

TAIPEI--The demand momentum for flash memory chips (NAND flash) is expected to remain sluggish throughout the first half of the year, as many new smart hand-held devices will not be released until the third quarter, according to a local market information advisory firm.

Apple Inc.'s peak shipments are expected to take place when it releases new smartphones and tablets during the July-September period, while other vendors are looking to unveil their new products during the same period, TrendForce said in a research note.

In February alone, NAND flash contract prices dropped nearly 14 percent from the previous month, TrendForce said, predicting that NAND flash demand for the first quarter will grow only 1.1 percent from the last quarter of 2013.

TrendForce estimated that the first-quarter shipments of smartphones, laptop and tablet computers will slide 5.3 percent, 12 percent and 27 percent quarter-on-quarter, respectively.

“The oversupply situation will likely persist even as the NAND flash suppliers begin halting their expansion efforts,” the research firm said, noting that chip prices are likely to weaken even further.

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