19/08/2022

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Wary trade chiefs see finish to semiconductor chip scarcity

SEOUL, South Korea: Executives from South Korea’s Hyundai Motors, Swiss factory robot builder ABB and Swedish refrigerator manufacturer Electrolux have said that after a long struggle to stockpile components, the semi-conductor chip shortage is finally easing.

Already battling with the effects of inflation on raw materials, a tight energy market and rising interest rates dampening consumer demand, the increasing supply of chips will reduce the burden facing their industries.

This week, Hyundai recorded its highest quarterly profit in eight years, boosted by the easing of the global chip shortage. The company currently aims to step up vehicle production in the second half of the year to meet consumer demand.

While reporting its second quarter earnings, ABB, a major supplier to the automotive industry, said semiconductor chip bottlenecks were now easing.

Seen as a barometer of the global economy, the Swiss company, which competes with Germany’s Siemens and France’s Schneider Electric, manufactures control systems and motors used in the transport industry and factories.

“The good thing to know, it is easing up,” Chief Executive Bjorn Rosengren said about the global semiconductor shortage, as quoted by Reuters.

Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia, which reported a better than expected quarterly operating profit, said it expected that the global semiconductor shortage would ease later this year.

“The overall direction in the semiconductor industry is positive at the moment, but we did continue to have constraints in the second quarter,” noted Chief Executive Pekka Lundmark, as reported by Reuters.

Last month, Volkswagen predicted a strong second half, as easing chip shortages are starting to offset supply chain issues and rising costs.

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With commodities prices dropping and interest rate hikes by central banks taking effect, ABB’s Rosengren said he expected a slowdown to the ongoing inflation.

However, it was not all good news for companies facing disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and COVID-19-related shutdowns in parts of China earlier this year.

Affected by supply chain problems and a loss in its North American business, Sweden’s Electrolux missed second-quarter profit expectations, the company announced this week.