Russia’s restriction on rare gas exports will worsen global semiconductor supply bottleneck: analysts

On Saturday, workers fabricate chips at Anhui Dongke Semiconductor Co in east China’s Anhui Province. The company is located in Anhui Ma’anshan Economic and Technological Development Zone, and is mainly engaged in the design, production and sale of green energy chips. Photo: CGV

The Russian government reportedly restricts the export of noble gases, including neon, a major ingredient used to manufacture semiconductor chips. Analysts noted that such a move could impact the global chip supply chain and worsen the market supply bottleneck.

The restriction is a response to the fifth round of sanctions imposed by the EU in April, RT reported on June 2, citing a government decree stating that the export of nobles and others until December 31, 2022 will be subject to approval from Moscow based on the recommendation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

RT reported that noble gases such as neon, argon, xenon and others are crucial for manufacturing semiconductors. Russia supplies up to 30% of the neon consumed in the world, RT reported, citing Izvestia newspaper.

According to a research report by China Securities, the restrictions are likely to worsen the shortage of chips in the global market and further increase prices. The impact of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine on the semiconductor supply chain is growing, with the upstream raw materials segment bearing the brunt.

With China being the world’s largest consumer of chips and heavily reliant on imported chips, the restriction could affect domestic semiconductor manufacturing, Xiang Ligang, chief executive of the Alliance for Consumer Electronics, told the Global Times on Monday. information based in Beijing.

Xiang said China imported about $300 billion worth of chips in 2021, used to produce cars, smartphones, computers, TVs and other smart devices.

The report from China Securities indicates that neon, helium and other noble gases are indispensable raw materials for the manufacture of semiconductors. For example, neon plays an essential role in the refinement and stability of the etched circuit and the chip manufacturing process.

Previously, Ukrainian suppliers Ingas and Cryoin, which supply about 50% of the world’s neon gas for semiconductors, halted production due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and the world price of neon and xenon gas kept rising. ‘increase.

As for the exact impact on Chinese businesses and industries, Xiang added that it will depend on the detailed implementation process of specific chips. Sectors that rely heavily on imported chips could be hit more significantly, while the impact will be less noticeable on industries adopting chips that can be produced by Chinese companies such as SMIC.

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