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Why it matters: Covid-related lockdowns in Malaysia have restrained the manufacture and supply of aluminum capacitors, adding another wrinkle to the global chip shortage. This follows recent problems in the supply of components like rare earth metals and ceramics.
Digitimes Asia reports that Japanese suppliers Chemi-Con and Nichicon had to close their facilities in Malaysia because of Covid lockdowns in July and August. Even after ending the lockdowns, they've reportedly only returned to around 60 percent of their workforce, which has forced them to cap their manufacturing capacity.
Together with another company, Rubycon, Chemi-Con, and Nichicon have a significant portion of global aluminum capacitor market share. Aluminum capacitors are a passive component important in electronic vehicles, computers, and other devices.
Industry sources tell Digitimes that shipments of aluminum capacitors from Malaysia could decrease by between 30 and 60 percent due to the Covid situation there. Lead times have increased to over six months. Some orders from those Japanese companies have started to spill over to Taiwan and China-based suppliers.
These are only the latest components causing problems for the global supply chains that go into electronics. Over the past year, prices of rare-earth metals have gone up, which is likely to impact the cost of electronics.
The lockdowns in Malaysia have also affected the supply of ceramic capacitors, which are essential for circuit boards. A shortage of display driver chips this year could affect the manufacture of everything that comes with a screen. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) thinks the global semiconductor shortage will likely last into 2022.