Electronic Shortages Bad & Getting Worse

For weeks and months, it’s been a buyer’s nightmare: all sorts of electronic parts are on allocation and prices are on the rise. Everything from capacitors to hard disk drives is in short supply. There’s no end in sight.

The recently released Fusion Worldwide’s Greensheet traces some of the trends and there is little good news to be found.

MLCCs

Multilayered ceramic chip capacitors (MLCCs), a basic staple in many electronic products especially in the telecommunication and automotive markets, are in short supply. That’s a reality that is pushing pricing. The Greensheet explained:

The cost of MLCCs continues to rise and there is a growing consensus that the high prices will remain long after the shortage ends. Passive component makers have long felt that their prices have been too low and undervalued relative to the manufacturing cost. The rising labor costs in China and the stricter environmental control restrictions will cause prices to rise further, while preventing them from reducing to pre-2016 costs even after the shortage has ended.

Even as component makers are rushing to get more capacity online with new factories focusing on these high-demand passives. However, for MLCCs limitations on materials and production equipment as well as demanding technology hurdles, makes it unlikely that these passives will be part of the shift. However, a number of suppliers are moving their capacity capabilities away from larger case size legacy products to increase volume on smaller case size technology. These shifts take time, though, so capacity likely won’t bounce back any time in the near future.

Other integrated circuits

Currently, lead times on diodes are stretching out across the board. “For example, current lead times are around 30 weeks for TVS Diodes, 24-36 weeks for Schottky diodes and 30 to 40 weeks for Zener diodes,” the Greensheet said. “In comparison, last year around this time, lead times for TVS diodes were at 20 weeks, and small signal diodes and rectifiers were around 18 to 25 weeks. “

Metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) prices are likely to also be forced up by increased demand, with increases of 10% to 25% across the market. These shifts can be traced to increased demand from the automotive market as well as a limited supply of silicon wafers and other raw materials needed to produce power MOSFETs “Most industry professionals are estimating that parts won’t be back in regular supply until 2020,” the Greensheet explained.

CPU & memory

Shortages of central processing unit (CPU) chips is ubiquitous, with rising demand combining with supply limitations to create a pinch. “Virtually all segments including Xeons, desktop, mobile and chipsets are facing varying degrees of turbulence,” the Greensheet said. “The strongest number of PC shipments in years have pinched supply availabilities across all client segments.”

DRAMs offer a glimmer of hope, as current demand is currently in pace with supply. At the same time, pricing is also likely to rise again this year although not substantially. In July, market pricing increased higher than last month at about three to five percent, the report said.

The infographic below outlines the trends in these markets. Take a look and let us know how they compare to your experiences in the comments section below.

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