Prices of DRAM memory chips have risen for the first time in seven months.
The contract price of the current mainstream 256MB 400MHz DDR DRAM chips, or DDR-400, rose to $2.43 for chips to be delivered during the second half of May, up from $2.40 in the first half of the month.
It was the first gain since prices started sliding from $4.65 last November, according to DRAMeXchange, an online clearinghouse.
Personal computer users need not worry about significantly higher prices anytime soon, though. DRAM makers continue to buy new production equipment, and output increases should keep pace with demand to maintain prices around the current level or slightly higher for months to come, analysts said.
DRAM companies continue to increase production despite the price decline. For example, Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor said it raised its targeted spending on new factory equipment this year to NT$50 billion from NT$40 billion, in order to move its production timetable up.
"DRAM prices have probably bottomed. This rise in contract prices shows PC companies may be expecting better seasonal demand, so they're willing to give some price upside," said James Huang, a chip analyst at SinoPac Securities in Taipei. However, prices probably won't rise much over the next six months due to new supply coming out from several companies that are increasing production, he said.
While contract prices for DDR-400 have risen, spot prices continued to fall. Spot market prices of 256M-bit DDR-400 chips fell to a fresh low of $2.25 per chip late Monday, down 44 percent since the beginning of the year. Spot market prices mainly affect chips sold to non-brand PC makers, known as white-box PC makers, while contract prices apply to memory chips sold to large PC vendors.