Thailand

Solid state drive prices have fallen by as much as 65 percent in the last 12 months, according to data. Research by The Tech Report finds that, in contrast to flooding in Thailand affecting standard hard drive production and causing price hikes, the price of SSDs is continuing to drop, with an average price drop of 46 percent -- almost half -- compared to the same point last year.

Graphs for the period show a hefty price drop for most models from April onwards, when a rumored price war between Kingston

The great hard-disk drive shortage seems to be nearing completion.

BlueFin Research analyst Paul Peterson asserts in a note this morning that the supply imbalance in hard drives that was triggered by last year's flooding in Thailand is not as dire as originally feared, which is good news for PC manufacturers that had been struggling to buy enough drives at reasonable cost. One contributing factor, he notes, is that PC demand remains sluggish. Seasonally slow demand is allowing a rapid recovery in HDD inventories, he asserts.

Sales of PCs and servers fell during the last few months of 2011, mainly because there weren't enough hard drives to go around, as a result of the flooding situation in Thailand.

This fact caused chipmaker Intel to slash its sales forecast for the quarter by $1 billion, to $13.7 billion plus or minus $300 million. Today we'll see just how bad the damage was, and how bad it's going to be going forward, as the company reports its results after the close of markets today.

Manufacturers have spent years building low-cost global supply chains. Natural disasters are showing them just how delicate those networks really are.

The image is almost surreal: It shows part of a Honda auto factory in central Thailand, one of the largest in Southeast Asia, swamped under 15 feet of water, brand-new cars floating in the currents. The devastating November flooding in Thailand, which killed more than 600 people, also knocked out some of Honda's key suppliers, including electronics component maker Rohm & Co., forcing production delays in plants as far away as Ohio.

Western Digital, one of the world's biggest storage companies, said today that it has resumed hard drive production in Thailand as flood waters recede in that country. But shortages will likely still happen in the current and future quarters.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company said in a statement today that the restoration of the company's factories in Thailand had progressed  better than expected and that production has resumed this week. One-time charges will be about $225 million to $275 million for the December quarter, and the company is going to make a business insurance claim of $50 million

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