Asian lockdown creates global MLCC capacitor shortage

Asian lockdown creates global MLCC capacitor shortage
Market news |
The extension to Malaysia's Movement Control Order 3.0 has created a risk of a shortage of multilayer ceramic capacitors says TrendForce
By Nick Flaherty


A severe shortage of Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs) is coming as the result of the extended lockdown in Malaysia says market analysis firm TrendForce.

This will have an significant impact on smartphones, notebook computers, networking products, server computers and 5G base stations, mirroring the chip shortage in teh automotive industry that has closed car plants. 

An original MCO was introduced by Malaysia in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic but after a series of reduced measures Prime Minister Muhyiddin announced that a nationwide “total lockdown” would begin on 28 May 2021.

The development is concerning as consumer companies such as Apple go into their peak buying period preparatory to product launches in the fourth quarter. TrendForce said equipment makers may need to delay product shipments due to delays in MLCC shipments.

A number of Japanese and Taiwanese suppliers have passive component factories in Malaysia including Taiyo Yuden, NDK, Epson, Panasonic, and Walsin Technology and these firms have already had their lead-times disrupted, TrendForce said.

Taiyo Yuden was able to partially resume its Malaysian fab operations on June 14 and activate about 60 percent of its work force and is in the process of ramping capacity utilization rate to 80 percent. However, given the extension of the MCO 3.0, Taiyo Yuden is not expected to raise its production.

TrendForce said that low- and mid-range MLCC suppliers typically carry about 60 days’ inventory but that high-end MLCC suppliers are down to less than 30 days’ inventory.

However, the situation is likely to be a benefit for those MLCC suppliers with manufacturing in Japan, such as Murata, Kyocera, and Samsung.

The restrictions in Malaysia are also curtailing the supply of aluminium electrolytic capacitors (SP-caps) and tantalum capacitors, TrendForce said.

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