Strong dollar to create economic uncertainties in global market

By Jeff Dorsch, Contributing Editor

Presentations at the SEMI/Gartner Market Symposium on Monday afternoon could be summed up in two words: Uncertainties Ahead.

That was part of the title for the presentation by Bob Johnson, a research vice president at Gartner. Currency volatility, with multiple currencies contending with a strong dollar, is expected to continue in the short term, he said.

“This affects everyone in the electronics supply chain,” Johnson said.

Jim Walker, another Gartner research vice president, earlier said China is in for a “hard landing,” after a spectacular run-up in equities traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in the past year, followed by a crash last month.

“The U.S. economy is the bright spot,” he said. “Businesses and households are spending more.” Those U.S. expenditures are cautious, he added.

The keynote address was by Ian Ferguson, vice president of segment marketing at ARM Holdings. “The semiconductor industry is consolidating,” he said. “A lot’s going on. The pace is accelerating.”

Regarding the Internet of Things, Ferguson said, “Just because it’s connected doesn’t make it a good idea.” He divided the IoT market into consumer, commercial, and industrial segments.

For the near future of the IoT, he predicted there will be “a significant security scare,” which will bring on more security precautions. Second, “people will stop discussing things as smart devices,” Ferguson said. Instead of smart refrigerators and smart televisions, there will be just refrigerators and televisions, he noted. Finally, “new connected things will interface to multiple subsystems,” he concluded.

Johnson said solid-state drives will be a significant driver of growth, especially boosting NAND flash memory devices.

The DRAM market is set for an oversupply situation with the additional capacity coming on line, which will be followed by price declines, according to Johnson.

In contrast, NAND flash is “the bright spot” in the semiconductor industry, “due to SSDs gaining traction,” Johnson said.


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