Expect PC shortages this holiday season, Q1 of 2012
Massive shortages of IT products that incorporate a hard disk drive (HDD) can be expected in the first quarter of 2012. As reported earlier, a devastating flood in Thailand has put the brakes on hard disk manufacturing in the country, which assembles about 70 percent of the world's HDDs. For example, Western Digital, the world's top producer of HDDs, has said that it will ship less than half of the HDDs it expects to supply for the rest of this year.
Even if the rains stopped today, industry sources say that there are only four weeks of finished HDDs in the supply chain. However, the most optimistic estimate is that it will take up to two months to pump out the water and restart operations. And with specialized machinery either under water or inaccessible due to flooded roads, shifting to other production facilities outside the country is out of the question.
For now, supplies are uncertain even for the rest of 2011. Computer maker Asustek has already confirmed that it has sufficient HDD inventory to last until the end of November, though others computer makers declined to comment. As reported by Channel Register, an industry insider has suggested an average of "20 percent to 30 percent volume shortfall in the consumer space."
On that front, Barclays Capital has released a research note lowering its fourth quarter forecast for PC growth from 7.2 percent to 4.3 percent. On the bright side, the impact appears to be manageable from a financial perspective. CNET News, citing Digitimes, said that even a rise of $30 will only result in the cost of a PC to inch up by "a few percentage points at most."
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