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Manufacturing giant warns that global chip shortage could last into 2023

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Forward-looking: It’s the news none of us wanted to hear: Flex, the world’s third-biggest electronics contract manufacturer, says that the current chip shortage could last until 2023. The warning is the most depressing timeframe we’ve seen so far; some in the industry have predicted the situation will improve by the end of this year, while others say the issues will be resolved in 2022.

As reported by the Financial Times (via 9to5Mac), Flex’s chief procurement and supply chain officer, Lynn Torrel, said the manufacturers it relies on for semiconductors are pushing back their forecasts for when the chip shortage crisis will end.

“With such strong demand, the expectation is mid to late-2022 depending on the commodity. Some are expecting [shortages to continue] into 2023,” she said.

Everyone knows the nightmarish situation consumers are dealing with right now. Pandemic-induced unprecedented demand and supply chain disruption, cryptominers, and scalpers have created a perfect storm of problems in which getting hold of electronic goods and hardware such as graphics cards has become almost impossible, especially at the MSRP. It’s led to chaotic scenes like this at retail outlets when restocks do arrive.

The automotive industry has been hit particularly hard by the chip shortage, especially Ford, Chevy and Jeep. Apple is predicting shortages of its latest iPads and MacBooks, smart TVs could be impacted, and grabbing a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X is as difficult now, if not more so, as when the consoles launched last year.

What everyone wants to know is, when will the crisis end? There are plenty of contrasting views. TSMC believes it will last through to 2022, as does Acer, MarketWatch and Sony, though the gaming giant “hopes” supply will improve in the second half of the year. AMD, which has been forced to prioritize high-end chips over budget offerings, thinks the situation will improve near the end of 2021.

Given that Taiwan’s drought has exacerbated the chip shortage, the hard truth is that it’s going to be quite a while before things get back to normal, but the thought of waiting until 2023 to buy a new graphics card, at MSRP, is certainly a depressing thought.

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