The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) announced on January 6 that Korea’s semiconductor exports declined by 7.7 percent from a month ago to US$4.79 billion last month. The export of semiconductor memory chips fell for three consecutive months due to a low demand, showing a decrease of 6.4 percent between November and December, while system semiconductor exports declined by 11.4 percent for inventory control during the same period. Nevertheless, Korea’s semiconductor exports for the entire year of 2015 increased by 0.4 percent year on year to US$62.918 billion, reaching a new high for the third consecutive year.
According to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), in the meantime, the global semiconductor market shrunk by 3.5 percent in size from a year earlier to total US$27.5 billion at the end of November 2015. The memory semiconductor market recorded a decline of 11.3 percent, whereas China’s semiconductor market achieved a growth of 5 percent while the global market showed negative growth for the past six months.
Korea’s semiconductor exports are likely to fall this year though. “The DRAM price is going down and the Tsinghua Unigroup is about to enter the memory semiconductor market,” said Eom Tae-woong, researcher at Bookook Securities, adding, “Besides, the global demand for IT products is predicted to remain sluggish throughout the course of this year.”
This year, global DRAM supply and demand are forecast to increase by 23.6 percent and 22.5 percent from a year ago, respectively. DRAM price is likely to continue to fall due to the slight oversupply. The NAND flash memory supply is estimated to show a 39.1 percent increase, and demand growth is estimated at 39.6 percent.