Linde and suppliers to increase price by 30% this year
Helium gas used in chip production is increasing in South Korea. This is expected to pressure local chipmakers that are already hard hit by global inflation.
Helium gas prices have already been increasing since the pandemic __ it increased by over 40% from 2020 to 2022.
A further price increase of 30% is expected from suppliers Linde, Air Products, and Air Liquide this year, sources said.
Helium gas is used as a cooling agent in wafer fabrication and display panel production.
Over 60% of those used in South Korea are consumed by chipmakers Samsung and SK Hynix.
The increase in their price coupled with unfavorable exchange rates has increased the cost of procuring the gas for the two chipmakers.
US and Qatar account for over 70% of worldwide production, but many companies in the US closed their doors during the pandemic.
South Korean companies had relied heavily on helium gas imported from the US.
In 2020, South Korea imported 1,133 tonnes of gas from the US but this dropped to 680 tonnes in 2021 and 565 tonnes in 2022.
Russia, another producer of the gas, is also now producing less of the gas due to its invasion of Ukraine, which caused Western nations to block cash flows to Russia in response.