The total damage caused by today's 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan is unclear, but analyst Jim Handy at Objective Analysis questions the impact on the country's semiconductor wafer fabrication plants. The above map shows the location of the earthquake's epicenter and Japan's major plants.
Handy's team expected a 6.9-magnitude earthquake near Japan in March of 2007 to have a "negligible" impact on Japan's fabs, but it's a much different story for today's quake, which was about 100 times stronger. From an Objective Analysis press release:
Over 40% of the world's NAND flash and roughly 15% of the world's DRAM are manufactured in Japan. Japan is a significant source of chips to support consumer electronics devices. A two-week shutdown would remove from production a sizable share of each of these. It doesn't take a large production decrease to cause prices to increase dramatically. Objective Analysis anticipates phenomenal price swings and large near-term shortages as a result of this earthquake.
Image: Objective Analysis