Will Floods in Thailand Raise the Price of Hard Drives and Computers?

By Emily Dovi, dealnews Copy Editor

Thailand has been bailing out of its rainy season, but the flooding in some areas has been severe. Considering the country produces 25% of the world's hard drives, and two substantial manufacturers — Seagate and Western Digital — operate there, the tech industry may need some bailing out too.

According to CBS News, analysts speculate that the rising flood waters could not only damage these companies' market share, but lead to a shortage of disk drives. For our readers, this could mean fewer deals.

30 Million Fewer Hard Drives Since August

In the last three months, the flooding in Thailand has killed more than 317 people and made a $3 billion dollar dent in their economy. With production at a halt in 14,000 factories, and others operating at a fraction of their capacity, market research firms estimate that the industry has seen 30 million fewer hard drives since August. According to ZDNET, Western Digital was hit particularly hard, while Seagate is still fully operational but will encounter disruptions as they're faced with shortages for the components they need.

Projected Effects from the Shortage

With a decreased supply, there's a good chance that prices for hard drives will go up. Or, at the very least, rock-bottom deals will be harder to come by.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, anticipates that there will be an overall shortage of disk drives, and Apple's Mac line is likely to be affected. We've also already seen signs that vendors may shy away from offering promotions; Mirco Center advised via its Facebook page that it has suspended its promotions for Hitachi hard drives due to the unexpected supply disruptions.

However other industry experts aren't as fearful. John Rydning with IDC told CBS News that the hard drive sector seemed to recover rather quickly after the Japanese earthquake in March 2011, and that the industry is "highly redundant and remarkably resilient," because its plants are located throughout Southeast Asia. Stacy Smith, CFO of Intel, also believes that a "combination of alternate supplies and inventory levels" will carry their production through to the end of the year.

How will this hard drive shortage affect you? It's difficult to say since the industry is expected to be in disarray for several months to a year. What we do know for certain, however, is that it's an especially good time to be shopping carefully for a deal. [CBS News]

Front page photo credit: MyService.com

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Forgot to add, one thing I see odd about this HDD shortage is that SSD drives are droping, a 120gb SSD SATA III can be had for ~$120 after rebates, probably not made in Thailand
And another thing, HDD enclosures and NAS's are also coming down. I don't know the NAS price drops are from the effects of less people buying them because HDD have gone up drastically in price and people are not buying NAS's as an effect?
But I was able to get a Synology 411+II for a great price from a Online Retailer last week. About $100 less than any other store I could find. They are a good "egg" if you know what I mean. ;-)
Posting this on 11/11/2011 about 2 1/2 weeks from the original article date.
HDD have skyrocketed in price. A 3tb Hitachi drive I got in Aug 2011 for $119.00 from an online vendor is now showing for $269.99 from the same vendor. 2tb drives that where $79-89 are now in low $200's. Even a "used" 2tb HDD on e-bay are going for $140's and up. I hope this is just price gouging and the price stabilizes and comes down by end of year.

Don't think I will see 3tb drives at $119 for awhile, maybe end of 2012, good thing I bought two of them back then for my Synology NAS.
That's really sad news. I come from Thailand (I live in USA now). My cousins are in Thailand, and they are facing a serious flooding problem right now. I keep reading news everyday about flooding and it gets worst every time. 

Pray for Thailand
So far the only effect I've seen is that I couldn't buy a pair of disks (and raid controller) at Newegg to set up a new RAID array since they've started enforcing a limit of one disk per customer. I had to use a different vendor (which was cheaper and will probably become my new preferred vendor instead off Newegg). Prices and availability still seem to be good, but I haven't looked at price trends over the past weeks/months to see if they are going up.