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Ice storms, factory fires, maritime disasters and earthquakes—over the last few weeks the semiconductor industry has been hit with a near-Biblical series of disasters, causing widespread product delays and worsening geopolitical tensions between the US and China.
The semiconductor shortage has caused shift cuts at a Ford auto plant in Kansas and a General Motors plant in Brazil, has boosted an eBay scalpers market on the PlayStation 5 and high-end graphics cards, and has forced Samsung to cancel the latest version of the Galaxy Note phone.
“We’re waiting for the locusts story to break,” jokes Phil Amsrud, a semiconductor industry analyst with the research firm IHS Markit, who recently co-authored a report on how the shortage was affecting the automotive industry.
Collapses along the semiconductor supply chain and a sudden surge in demand for retail goods are also fueling anxieties