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Updated: DRAM market calm in July

How come the price discrepancies?

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The 30 day rolling average prices until July 30 were 64Mb DRAMs (PC 100 8Mx8) were $6.18 for North America, $5.58 for Europe and $5.75 for Asia. All prices quoted are for major buyers. And don't forget these are very major buyers. And that these prices are historical. Today, you're unlikely to get 64Mb DRAM in the UK for under $7 trade, a friendly DRAM broker tells us. Prices could go as high as $8, as the trade buys in replacement stocks over the next few weeks. Anyhow, here goes the ICIS-LOR stats for July. European prices fell 5.1 per cent, North America fell 1.98 per cent, while Asia inched up 1 per cent, compared with the 30-day average DRAM prices to July 23, 1999. Memory modules spot prices for 64MB DIMMs (PC 100) were $39.93 in North America, 7.15 per cent higher than the previous week, $42.34 in Europe (5.64 per cent up); and $43.27 in Asia (up 6.61 per cent). A reader asks why European prices are cheaper for 64Mb and more expensive for memory modules. Also why do the 8x8 modules cost less than eight 64Mb chips bought separately. We agree that it doesn't make sense. The discrepancies can only be explained by stock backlogs, according to our DRAM broker. Typically, European DRAM prices are higher than in North America and in Asia. They were lower in July ( and are still lower now) than in America and Asia because that's the time the market goes into the summer doldrums here. The market is still quiet: European brokers are shifting old stock for less than their replacements will cost. Memory modules are a slightly different matter -- today, the talk in the UK DRAM channel is of 8x8 shortages. But that can't have been the case in July, judging from ICIS-LOR's stats. Presumably, there was less inventory overhang for modules in Europe than for North America and for Asia. At the same time there was more inventory in toto for modules than for individual 64Mb, hence the lower aggregate prices. But hey, this is a reporter, not a DRAM analyst. For the full monty check out ICIS-LOR. We don't know if it has a web presence -- but it's a Reed subsidiary with offices in London and Singapore, if you want to track it down. ICIS-LOR charges good money for its information -- or so we found out last time we wrote up a summary of its findings. How we get the prices is no secret -- it's available free on AsiaBiztech. ®

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