Japan Earthquake Rocks USB Flash Drive Prices

Around 35% of all flash memory used in the manufacture of USB flash drives comes from Japan and following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week the market for flash and flash controller chips is in turmoil.

The on-going concerns around the nuclear plants and possible radioactive leaks are driving further uncertainty into the market. The consequence of this is that prices for flash memory have soared over the past few days. On the 14th March prices for some flash memory modules increased by 20-25% and the outlook in short term looks bleak with some sources close to the market that trades in flash suggesting that prices could rise by as much as 50% this week alone.

USB Flash Drive Price Increases

Although many parts of Japan have not been directly affected by the earthquake the country as a whole is understandably suffering from power outages and challenges to its transport infrastructure.

Such is the scale of the problem at the moment that many of the factories that supply finished USB flash drives to the UK and Europe are struggling to secure sufficient quantities of the necessary core flash memory modules and controllers to fulfil orders. Where they are able to source flash they are doing so prices that just a week ago no one would have dreamed of.

The downstream impact of this is that many customers will either not be getting their orders for USB flash drives, or their orders will be late or their orders will re-priced to reflect the current market conditions.

Companies that supply USB flash drives into the promotional market or supply flash drives companies and schools that want them printed with their logo are, for the next few weeks at least, going to struggle to provide firm prices or commit to fixed delivery dates.

If you must buy USB flash drives in the next few weeks then be prepared for a huge hike in the price and be aware of the challenges in the supply chain. If you can the best advice is to wait for a couple of weeks and see how the things play out. Hopefully the situation in Japan will ease and supply will gradually return to as near normal as possible albeit the fallout from the events of the last few days will take many years for Japan and its people to come to terms with.

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