South Korea / Japan trade war could lead to DRAM memory price spikes

South Korea produces three quarters of the world's memory chip supply. (Source:
South Korea produces three quarters of the world's memory chip supply. (Source:
As the tensions between South Korea and Japan escalate, prices for NAND and DRAM chips are primed for substantial spikes over the remainder of 2019. In the past 2 weeks, prices already increased by 15% and the demand for DDR4 RAM modules caused by the recent launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs is also adding to the appreciation process.

While the U.S. and China are implicated in a trade war for global economic dominance, South Korea and Japan have recently started waging a trade war of their own, and this one may have serious repercussions on key semiconductor components like DRAM memory modules. NAND modules used for SSDs and DRAM chips used for PC RAM modules reached their lowest prices back in spring 2019, but analysts predicted that prices could once again rise, and it looks like the Korean / Japanese trade war is accelerating the price appreciation process.

The tensions between the two nations began escalating when a South Korean court ruled that Japanese company Nippon Steele benefitted from Korean forced labor during World War II and is now liable to pay US$89,000 to each and every Korean survivor. Japan retorted demonstrating that these damages were covered in the 1965 accord and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe threatened with drastic economic measures in case the rulings are not reversed. As a preemptive measure, Japan already put a stranglehold on a series of chemical compounds such as photoresist layers and hydrogen fluoride used by Samsung and SK Hynix for memory and semiconductor manufacturing.

Seeing that South Korea and Japan are not willing to come to an agreement any time soon, NAND and DRAM manufacturers jacked prices by as much as 15% in the last few weeks and more price spikes fueled by the increased demand for DDR4 memory caused by the recent release of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs may follow throughout the remainder of 2019. According to Bernstein analyst Mark Newman, South Korea produces three quarters of the world’s memory supply and prices may climb back up to 2017 levels very shortly. Even TSMC, which is based in Taiwan, issued warnings about upcoming photoresist layer shortages.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > South Korea / Japan trade war could lead to DRAM memory price spikes
Bogdan Solca, 2019-07-19 (Update: 2019-07-19)
Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - News Editor
I stepped into the wonderous IT&C world when I was around 7. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, be them from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I like to keep myself up to date with all the new technologies that get released at an ever increasing rate these days. I'm also an avid SciFi reader, an astrophysics aficionado and, as of late, a crypto geek.