RAM prices could stay high for six months

Expectations that the current leap in RAM prices is a blip could be ill-founded, according to the UK's largest memory distributor Datrontech.

"Our sources tell us that anti-dumping legislation will be imposed [on Korean vendors] on March 7 at up to 40 per cent," said Andrew Mackenzie, a director for the firm. "That probably equates to 30 per cent of production. There are continuing allocation problems and there will be three to six months of increases with regular fluctuations. [The bout of price rises] has a feeling of longevity."

However, Mackenzie conceded that seasonal variations could be having an effect: "In the Chinese New Year there's not much happening in Asia - we'll know better by the back end of the week. There's also the fact that makers are moving to 16, 32 and 64Mb production. My feeling is that there will be an extra 20 per cent [price jump]."

Mackenzie denied that the price jump was a result of panic buying. "It's a real problem," he said. "We are having problems in getting hold of the volumes we want. Everyone will have to charge more. The last thing we want to do is cause a panic."

However, there is considerable confusion in the market and many disparate viewpoints are held. "We had a talk with Samsung and they think it will all be sorted out within two or three weeks," said Steve Bennett, managing director of mail-order and retail giant Software Warehouse which will shortly release a line of PCs.

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