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Hynix Ups DRAM Price, Sees More Gains

Hynix Semiconductor, the world's second-biggest memory chip maker, said on Tuesday it had "marginally" raised the contract price for its computer memory chips for early April and expected further gains.

Makers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), used in personal computers, have been grappling with oversupply and collapsing prices. Makers such as sector leader Samsung Electronics and Japan's Elpida Memory had been considering raising contract prices.

"We have raised the price marginally, although the gain was minimal," said James Kim, vice president in charge of investor relations, referring to the contract price for the first half of April.

When asked about the likelihood of a further price increase in the latter half of April, Kim said: "It is possible. We expect (an increase)."

"The pricing trend could pick up further in May," he added. "We expect some more demand in May."

Hynix shares were down 1.8 percent while the broader market fell 1.2 percent Tuesday.

Taiwanese rival Powerchip Semiconductor said separately on Tuesday that DRAM prices were hovering at the bottom now and expected to them rebound in the second half.

Officials at Samsung were not available immediately to comment on their chip pricing. Samsung said last week it was considering a single digit percent rise in its contract price for DRAM chips in April.

Elpida also said last week it aimed to raise the price of DRAM chips by 20 percent in April.

Separately, Hynix said on Tuesday the Council of the European Union decided to lift countervailing duties on imports of the company's DRAM chips, retroactively effective from end-2007.

In 2003, the Council decided the South Korean government had illegally subsidised Hynix by allegedly directing banks to provide financing for the chip maker and set a punitive duty of 34.8 percent. The tariff rate was later lowered to 32.9 percent.

"The Council's action should provide Hynix with greater flexibility and stability in meeting customer needs," the company said in a statement.

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