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Memory Culprit as Semiconductor Sales Slow

Supply shortage turning into oversupply

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 28, 2018 – 

Semiconductor sales growth has slowed substantially in recent months as the rapid price increases that fueled the market's growth for more than two years has slowed to a trickle.

The three-month rolling average for chip sales growth slowed to 13.8% in January, the lowest level since November 2016, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization. Sales for the quarter were up 13.8% year-over-year, the lowest rate of growth since the fourth quarter of 2016. In fact, it marked the first time since the first quarter of 2017 that the growth rate slipped below 20%.

The slowing sales growth has corresponded directly with a decline in the growth rate of DRAM and NAND flash memory prices, which have slowed dramatically in recent months as the memory industry shifts from a prolonged period of supply shortage to oversupply.

"The softening memory market has started to become a 'headwind' on total IC market growth," said market research firm IC Insights in a recent report. The firm is forecasting that overall chip sales growth will fall to 6% in the fourth quarter.

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