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Japan disaster strains electricals supply chain

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The prices and availability of electrical items may be affected by the earthquake and tsunami which have caused devastation in Japan, it emerged today.

International market research firm iSuppli has warned that leading Japanese factories, which produce vital parts of some of the world’s favourite consumer electronics products, will now face huge supply chain disruption.

Most of the country’s largest electronic component producers, including Panasonic, Sony, Sanyo and Hitachi, operate their manufacturing facilities away from the epicentre of last week’s quake but national infrastructure and transportation problems will still stifle supply.

A spokesman from iSuppli said: “Infrastructure challenges will slow or suspend shipments from Japan during the next two weeks. However, the global supply chain has about two weeks of excess component inventory in the pipeline for semiconductor parts affected by the quake.

“Because of this, the shortages are not likely to appear until the end of March or the start of April. Just the same, these shortages and their price impact are likely to linger until the third quarter.”

Apple announced today that it has cancelled the release of its new iPad 2 in Japan, which was scheduled for March 25th, with no new date confirmed.

Flash memory chips, 40 per cent of which are made in Japan, are essential to iPad production and have risen in price by 20 per cent since the events of last week.

Launches of the product due in Europe, including the UK, before the end of the month will not be disrupted but Apple will have to work hard to continue to meet demand.

Despite the potential damage to the industry the disaster has had, some of the world’s biggest retailers have been leading the way in organising aid for victims of the incident.

US based electricals retailer Best Buy has today announced that it is donating $500,000 to help the aid effort in Japan, with the money going to The Red Cross organisation.

Also,global e-tailers Amazon and eBay have placed donation links on their homepages to try and encourage customers to send money to help those affected.

Published on Wednesday 16 March by Editorial Assistant

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