Washington’s AI Chip Sales Restrictions to China Could Impact Nvidia and Chip Stocks
Recently, the US Commerce Department announced new restrictions on artificial intelligence (AI) chip exports to China, which has raised concerns about the long-term implications for popular chipmakers like Nvidia. As a result, chip stocks experienced a sell-off, with Nvidia losing 7% of its value this week, and other companies like Advanced Micro Devices and Marvell Technology also seeing declines. While some names have recovered, analysts and portfolio managers believe that continued restrictions from the Commerce Department could impact sales opportunities for chipmakers and potentially lead China to retaliate.
The Impact on Nvidia
In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Nvidia acknowledged that the new government curbs could hinder its new product development timeline and affect the sale of certain chip models. The restrictions not only target the latest-generation H100 product but also prevent the sale of less advanced H800 and A800 models previously sold in China. The main objective of these restrictions is to prevent China from leveraging advanced semiconductor chips to enhance its military capabilities. However, the ruling also affects other countries, such as Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, by adding licensing requirements.
The Potential Impact on Revenue
Wall Street investment banks have adjusted their price targets for Nvidia to account for the potential slowdown in sales due to the heightened restrictions. For example, Citi analyst Atif Malik lowered his Nvidia price objective to $575 from $630, while Morgan Stanley’s Joseph Moore reduced his target by $30 to $600. These analysts believe that restrictions to areas like Saudi Arabia pose a greater threat to revenue than initially anticipated. Although the near-term impact on Nvidia appears limited, many analysts and professional investors are preparing for a potential larger hit to earnings and revenues in the future.
The Broader Implications
Nvidia is not the only company expected to be affected by the export curbs. Analysts anticipate that other chipmakers like Advanced Micro Devices and Intel will also face challenges. In the short term, investors can expect volatility and downward pressure on the entire sector as they analyze the news and its investment implications. Moreover, cutting ties with China may prove difficult due to interconnected supply chains and the potential ripple effects across industries, as seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Positive Outlook for the Semiconductor Industry
Despite the potential negative impact on some AI chipmakers, many investors and analysts remain optimistic about the broader outlook for the semiconductor industry. Raymond James analyst Srini Pajjuri suggests that the strong demand for AI could offset some of the loss in Chinese demand. However, he still expects a potential 10% impact on next year’s earnings. While China represents a significant market and lost opportunities for US companies, analysts believe that the semiconductor industry will continue to thrive.
— HaberTusba’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting