In a perverse way, the flooding in Thailand might have a hidden benefit — it could help boost pricing in a way the market otherwise would never allow.
Seagate today said as much in an SEC 8-k filing. The HDD maker noted the severity of disruption the floods have wrought on the hard drive supply chain, causing it to project total industry shipments of 110 million to 120 million units for the quarter. That’s in line with IHS iSuppli’s forecast of a 28% year-over-year drop. Better rethink gifting a PC for Christmas.
But there quite possibly a silver lining. When capacity is reduced and demand is constant, prices rise. Deutsche Bank senior analyst Sherri Scribner said as much today, noting “Despite the significant shortfall in total available market this quarter, we believe Seagate and the industry will see a gross margin benefit from HDD supply disruptions. As we have already begun to see in the channel, limited availability of HDDs is driving prices higher and pricing is the primary driver of gross margins.”
She also points out that the effect will be lingering, as HDD pricing is set based on prior quarter prices.
We saw this a few years ago, when a fire at ASE in Taiwan took an estimated 10% of the world’s flip-chip capacity offline and pushed up prices and delivery times for several quarters.
The electronics supply chain has long been in dire need of a little inflation. This could help.