Micron stock climbs as chip prices rise in China fire's aftermath

Bloomberg NewsSeptember 24, 2013 

Smartphone and computer makers face higher costs for a key component as memory-chip prices surged 42 percent, reaching the highest in more than two years, following a fire at an SK Hynix Inc. plant in China.

Micron Technology Inc. may be the biggest beneficiary as an alternative supplier, said Oh Sang-woo, an analyst at Leading Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul, South Korea. Boise-based Micron’s stock has risen 23 percent since the fire. The stock closed at $17.04 on Tuesday.

The price of a memory-industry benchmark chip, known as the DDR3 2-gigabit dynamic random-access memory chip, reached $2.27 Monday, according to DRAMeXchange, an industry research firm and Asia's largest marketplace for memory chips. That compares with $1.60 on Sept. 4, when the fire forced the closing of SK Hynix’s factory in Wuxi, China.

Hynix, based in South Korea, expects to resume production on the fire-hit line next month. Hynix is the world’s second-largest producer of memory chips with customers including Apple Inc., Dell Inc. and Sony Corp.

The surge in prices may affect smartphone makers. International Data Corp. forecasts that China shipments alone will surge to 450 million units next year from 360 million units this year.

“Chip prices will continue to rise throughout the fourth quarter, or at least there will be no drop until the operation gets into full swing,” Oh said. “The market previously expected the price to peak out in the fourth quarter.”

Before the fire, memory-chips hadn’t crossed $2.20 since February 2011.

Hynix says it will fully recover normal output levels in November.

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