Another month has passed and the IC market has become even more unbalanced with allocations and extended lead times piling up. The situation with multilayer ceramic capacitors, thick film resistors and inductors has worsened, while MOSFET and LED supply issues are being highlighted globally. Many markets are seeing an uptick in demand and manufacturers are unable to keep up pace. We’re seeing more parts on allocation and prices continue their rapid climb.
The MLCC shortage is expected to continue at least through Q1 2018, and possibly throughout Q2. Many brands such as Murata, Yageo and Samsung have announced price increases and longer lead times over the last few weeks, adding on to their earlier announcements. The average price increase across all brands is around 20%. A number of factors have contributed to the supply gaps. Murata has altered their production to focus on automotive parts, resulting in decreased supply for most commercial capacitors. Distributors are stating lead times for most Murata ceramic caps as 20-30 weeks on the short end and some even as long as 41 weeks. Many customers are facing line down situations regularly and seeking alternate options. Distributors are either hoarding inventory as prices continue to increase, or price gouging to an enormous extent to sell their product. Manufacturers have sent notice to some distributors to allocate stock and hold back inventory for specific customers due to the shortage.
Resistors have also been a focus in the market as of late, with Vishay announcing price increases of 25% or greater on the DAL CRCW 0402 through 1206 case sizes. Price increases go into effect immediately for new orders, but open backlog may be subject to the price movements if not shipped before January 1st, 2018. Raw material shortages and production capacity issues have been singled out as the main culprit as to why manufacturers can’t meet the increased demand. Panasonic ERJ series, ROHM MCR series and KOW RK73 series have all been experiencing similar troubles.
Similarly, Vishay IHLP 1616, 2020 and 3232 series inductors have increased lead times to 38+ weeks. IHLP 2525s are reportedly hovering around 22-28 week LTs and larger case sizes, such as 4040, 5050 and automotive grade parts ending in “A” have lead times 48-60 plus weeks.
Low voltage MOSFETs are facing severe shortages as commercial demand continues to increase, especially in intelligent mobile phone terminal applications, fast charger and wireless charger markets. Automotive demand spikes have also been contributing to the shortages as most manufacturers have reconfigured their production to meet the more profitable automotive needs. Shortages are expected to continue in both the commercial and automotive markets for the next year, and pricing is set to bump up 10-20%. The Fairchild/On Semi acquisition only seemed to complicate matters, while Infineon, IXYS and Nexperia have all fallen under the same shortage situations. Expect Infineon low voltage lead times to move out to 20-30 weeks, and high voltage MOSFETs at approximately 16-18 weeks.
Osram opto lead times remain high at 20+ weeks, affecting infrared, general lighting, automotive LEDs and couplers alike. Still on allocation are the following product groups and series: MultiLED (LRTB, GVST, LRTB, GVTG), TOPLED Longlife (LWTVSG (CB,BB)), SmartLED (LG L29K, LS L296,LS L29K, LY L29K), and Oslon BlackFlat (LA H9PP). All series are expected to continue on heavy allocation through Q1 2018.
Whether there would be a change in circumstance in Xeon supply during the Skylake launch was more a question of “when” than “if.” The market shifted pretty rapidly at the beginning of the month and several Broadwells have become very hard to come by. The lower end of the E5-2600 stack has been the most affected. Pricing has jumped 1-2% across the board at a minimum and in many instances much higher. One would think that if supply on Broadwell is being pulled back in an effort to spur adoption of Skylake that the supply of said Skylake would be abundant and free flowing but we’ve seen a number of requests for support there so the “why” of the whole situation is a bit muddled. We last saw a market like this in Xeons in late 2014 and if history is to repeat itself in 2017-18, we should see things stabilize come February.
The desktop market seems to be levelling off after an extended run of constraints. Pricing in the market on several Skylakes remains high but it is only a matter of time before we see that recede as activity tapers. Kaby Lake pricing has been pretty soft at the same time as we’ve heard of some aggressive quarterly volume targets leading some to lower pricing in an effort to achieve these benchmarks.
Intel announced this month that the S3520 SSD series will be going EOL at the end of November, which is three months earlier than expected. Unable to produce the specific NAND for this series, Intel is still doing whatever they can to fulfill OEM demand while at the same time moving existing customers to the new S4500 series. Pricing has already started to increase across all capacities in this series with available stock in the open market disappearing day by day. Expect to see shortages increase later in the quarter, specifically on the popular 240 and 480GBs. Over the past month we’ve seen requirements and scheduled orders drastically increase on the S3520s.
We’re hearing that Nvidia hit its Q3 sales targets earlier than usual and as a result, paused the supply of more GPU chips to its AIC (Add-In Card) partners from mid-Oct onwards in order to reduce their inventory levels. This, along with the continuous shortage of graphics memory, has been creating a supply gap that would make it reasonable for card makers to increase pricing. The shortage of overall cards caused by the cryptocurrency mining boom has been causing supply issues for gamers who are the ultimate targeted users of Nvidia GeForce graphic cards. Nvidia demanded its AIC partners to stop selling GeForce gaming cards to server and data-center customers or potentially face fines or supply completely cut off.
While demand for notebook TN panels is expected to remain strong in Q4 due to their low prices, the demand for IPS panels is expected to decrease due to recent quality issues. Overall, PC makers are not aggressively purchasing more panels reporting they still have enough buffer stock for the coming holiday seasons. Demand for gaming laptops with high resolution 4K UHD panels is on the rise. The growing demand is causing a build‑up of extended lead times, with a small number of products now on allocation with an estimated 6 month lead time.
While the global NAND shortage appears to be somewhat correcting itself, we’re still seeing issues across all capacities, speeds, and manufacturers for DRAM. Top tier OEMs are reporting to be getting just enough direct support to get by, but are still experiencing shortages and seeking cost savings opportunities. 16GB and 32GB DDR4 2400Mhz and 2666Mhz registered modules increased anywhere from 1-3% over the past month. Direct pricing is still expected to exceed the $300 threshold for Q1 as reported last month by distribution channels. While 2133Mhz modules haven’t officially been deemed EOL by manufacturers, it may soon come as all open market distributors are reporting zero availability leaving only used modules available for sale in the open market. RDIMM requirements still remain to be in high demand as enterprise and cloud business continues to grow. With low demand for PC memory, distributors are reporting that in order to sell UDIMMS, which have higher margins, they are bundling them with RDIMM deals at a loss just to clear out their inventory.