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© Paumanok Publications / TTi MarketEye Components | April 18, 2018

Passives: Demand continues to outstrip supply

Especially MLCC, tantalum and chip resistors are affected by this demand-supply discrepancy. The traditional slowdown in demand that is typical for January, has not occurred and consumption is now expected to be up for the global market in US dollars for the quarter ending March 2018.
The January market data published by Dennis Zogbi in his TTi MarketEye column suggests a strong automotive market in January 2018 and the beginnings of a revival in the industrial markets. Early reporting by key manufacturers of passive components have revealed a very strong December revenue stream, with sales for one vendor up 55% over December 2016.

The outlook for the remainder of 2018 is also shaping up to be robust with forecasts from handset, automotive electronics, defense and space; medical and infrastructure all expected to be up for 2018.

Lead times for capacitors have moved up over the past six months and in January 2018, data now confirms that demand for capacitors remains high and supply continues to be tight. In January 2018 Paumanok noted increased lead times for the aluminum capacitor products, ceramic capacitor products, tantalum capacitors and plastic film capacitors.

The resistor markets and their primary PGM supply chain have been extraordinarily volatile in FY/2017 and this is not subsiding in 2018 as products consumed in automotive and industrial end-markets remain in high demand. Demand remains high in thick film chip resistors, even though lead times are returning to more manageable levels signifying less “panic” in the resistor market, writes Mr Zogbi, but demand equation is still off balance and needs further correction.

The global passive component raw material index has been trending upward since mid-2016 and is now causing great concern in January 2018. Prices for nickel, copper, aluminum and zinc are all trending upward (as of January 2018). In precious metals, the market analyst saw a huge spike in ruthenium prices to USD 195 per troy ounce. Palladium prices also continue to increase. Tantalite prices remain unchanged in January 2018 but on an elevated level. More tantalum ore will be required to replenish stockpiles drawn down because of the increase in demand in the December quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.

More information can be found at Paumanok Publications and TTi's MarketEye.

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