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Electronics Production | July 04, 2011

Inflated prices for ubiquitous analog components

Supply disruptions spurred by the Japan earthquake are continuing to cause pricing increases for general-purpose analog integrated circuits (ICs), components that are used in most types of electronic equipment produced worldwide, states iSuppli.

Average worldwide pricing for the major types of general-purpose analog ICs—such as amplifiers/comparators, interface devices and voltage regulators—are set to rise in the 2% range in the third quarter, as presented in the figure below. Pricing increases will weaken to 0.6% in the fourth quarter, and conditions then will return to normal seasonal patterns in the first quarter of 2012 with prices flattening or declining. Analog circuits perform critical tasks in today’s electronic products, notably the essential power management functions almost universally found in electronics devices, from media tablets to cell phones, to high-definition televisions. As a result, these devices ship in huge volumes and serve as a bellwether of market conditions for the general electronics industry. “Nearly four months after the earthquake, the Japan disaster continues to drive up pricing for general-purpose analog components, and will continue to influence availability and costs for these parts through the end of the third quarter,” said Rick Pierson, senior semiconductor analyst for IHS. “Although the impact of the disaster on analog IC pricing has begun to weaken, analog component prices are set to maintain an upward trend in the third quarter.” Texas Instruments and Renesas face supply challenges The pricing increases were prodded by supply shortfalls due to damage and production disruptions at analog IC fabs operated by Texas Instruments and Renesas in Japan. Texas Instruments is the world’s largest supplier of general-purpose analog integrated circuits, with a 20.6% share of global revenue in 2010, nearly twice the level of its closest competitor, Analog Devices, at 12.1%. Texas Instruments operates two fabs in Japan that produce analog ICs that were affected by the quake. One is in Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima, which is close to epicenter of the quake. The other is further away in Miho. The Aizu facility has resumed full production, but the Miho fab is not set to return to 100% until mid-July. Renesas was the No. 17 general-purpose analog supplier in 2010, with a 1.3% share of the market. The company operates fabs that produce analog ICs at its facilities in Gunma and Kofu, both in Yamanashi. Analysis such as this can be found in the IHS iSuppli Component Price Tracker (CPT), the only monthly multiregional update of major component prices, both spot and market, on more than 300 part descriptions.
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