If you have taken a look at hard drive prices in recent weeks then you’ll likely be aware that recent flooding in Thailand has had a massive impact on the cost of storage. This impact was delayed somewhat in major retailers due to the long lead times on catalogue printing, which meant a commitment to pre-flood pricing levels that has now passed.
120 million drives
This means that the major chains have joined smaller retailers in hiking up the price of hard drives. To get an idea of just why this is happening, all one needs to do is look at the latest financial results
from Western Digital, which predict a total demand of 170-180 million drives worldwide this quarter. Thanks to the flooding effecting both the major manufacturers, the industry supply of drives will only be around 120 million in that timeframe.
These drives have to go to more than just the retail market. If anything, existing supply contracts with PC and server manufacturers will soak up the bulk of the supply. This leaves the retail market suffering as prices go through the roof.
The decontamination process
Don’t expect this to change too quickly either. WD’s financial results also give an indication of the timeframes involved in recovery. The good news is that it has begun production in one of its buildings, located in Bang Pa-in, which was recently pumped dry and power restored. It is also in the process of repairing equipment and beginning decontamination of the rest of that facility.
However that is about the only good news at the moment. Another facility in Navanakrom is still underwater, and WD is still waiting for it to be pumped dry so it can begin the long process of getting it back up and running.
It will still be a long while until the hard drive market returns to normal. But at least these are signs that not only is the slow journey back to full production underway, but it appears to be happening slightly ahead of schedule.