After the market responded to the earthquake in Japan by driving the lead times for MLCC devices up to more than 23 weeks in April, they dropped back roughly 18% to a little more than 20 weeks in May. Market data was compiled and analyzed by the Paumanok Group and reported on by Passives Analyst Dennis Zogbi through the tti|MarketEye site. Dennis points out that ceramic chip capacitors are used primarily in wireless handsets, computers and TV sets.
The one month increase in lead time is attributed to “panic buying” resulting from the concerns about availability given the potential impacts of the quake on the production facilities for the capacitors and supply of the raw materials used in the capacitor material production – primarily titanium dioxide and barium.
Interestingly, as noted by Dennis in the article, specialty capacitors did NOT follow the same sporadic buying behavior (or lead time trend). In fact, they have incrementally increased in lead times on a monthly basis from approximately 13 weeks in January to approximately 18 weeks in May. The insight provided for this counter-trend is that stimulus investments in power and energy related products is still flowing into the market.
by Brent Ward