The supply of hard drives has been dramatically affected by Thailand’s recent floods.
Flooding in Bangkok, Thailand-October 24, 2011: This is a satellite image showing flooding near Bangkok, Thailand. Locals are parking their vehicles loaded with belongings on overpasses on highway ramps to protect them from being affected by flood waters. This stretch of highway is the Sapan Nonthaburi Ban Bua Thong Highway # 3215 where it intersects with the Soi Chai Uea Highway #307.
The recent flooding in Thailand has caused dramatic shortages in the hard drive market. Many hard drive manufacturers have major manufacturing plants in Thailand. Western Digital and Seagate facilities are especially hard-hit. The shortages have resulted in big jumps in hard drive prices. Hard drive prices have risen 20 to 40 percent recently. I noticed that one Western Digital 1.5 TB drive jumped from about $120 retail to $180 retail in just one week.
This is not a good time to upgrade or replace your hard drives. Wait a few months for the pipeline to fill up with new drives, and we’ll see hard drive prices fall again.
Thailand is not the only country that manufactures hard drives. Malaysia, Singapore, and China are major producers as well.
Industry observers predict that hard drive shortages will persist into 2012 and cause the prices of finished systems to rise. It’s expected that as the floods subside and Thai hard drive production resumes, prices will fall and stabilize roughly where they were a month ago. When will this happen? Maybe 2nd quarter, 2012.