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By | Paul Kunert 21st November 2011 14:17

Floods really will bring armageddon in 2012, insist resellers

We're not just using Thai disaster to mark up disks

PC shortages are affecting the UK earlier than expected but the rapid swing from inventory overload to relative hardware famine has led to some customers dismissing resellers' warnings as sales opportunism.

The channel has been awash with stock all year as consumer demand fell off a cliff. However PC makers forecast shortages nearer to Christmas as the deadly flooding disaster in Thailand literally wrecked the hard disk supply chain.

John Thornhill, boss at BT Engage IT, told El Reg that the product shortfall was now impacting availability and driving up prices in the UK.

"We are already seeing tightening of supply and pressure on pricing - there will be some upward moves which is the last thing that consumers or small businesses want to see," said Thornhill.

eBuyer commercial director Dave Wood reckoned tier-one brands have already pushed up prices by 15 to 20 per cent so far, adding: "Vendors and distributors are getting more and more concerned about Q4 and Q1."

The outlook is anything but rosy for Seagate boss Stephen Luczo, who last week warned that drive supply issues will continue throughout 2012. Today Goldman Sachs cut earnings-per-share estimates for Intel based on the severity of the flooding.

But resellers feeding these warnings through to end users are being confronted with cynicism.

"Customers don't fully realise how much trouble the disk drive issues will cause, they think we are pushing end-of-year deals. But the industry has gone from PC glut to shortages in two months so the attitude is understandable," said one.

Another large dealer agreed: "We are advising customers to buy now rather than next year because prices will continue to rise, but they don't believe us. The industry has done a really bad job of communicating the issues in Thailand." ®

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