Nvidia: turbulence to continue
Earlier this month Nvidia cut its outlook, which we covered in an equity update, driving by excess inventory of GPUs leading to price pressures in GPUs. Lower demand for GPUs, which we believe is mainly driven by less favourable dynamics for crypto mining, is forcing Nvidia to lower its sales outlook, cutting prices, and writing down its existing inventory. Nvidia has gone to great length explaining off the weakness as due to a slowdown in gaming, but the companies in gaming are not showing the decline in demand consistent with the slowdown Nvidia is experiencing.
Because Nvidia does not know very well the end-use cases of their GPUs it is difficult for them to segment revenue, but in our view the economics of crypto mining tied to the Bitcoin price is the best explanation for the historical variance in revenue. Nvidia’s slowdown is tied to cryptocurrencies and thus higher interest rates is not only a key risk to Nvidia’s equity valuation, but it is also a risk to their demand as higher interest rates could lower cryptocurrency prices substantially from current levels.
Nvidia is expected on Wednesday to report only 3% y/y revenue growth in FY23 Q2 (ending 31 July) down from 46% y/y in FY23 Q1 (ending 1 May) which is an abrupt slowdown in growth. It also highlights Nvidia’s biggest business risk. The chipmaker does not fully understand its demand function which can lead to a mismatch in supply and demand. The key question for investors is to what extent Nvidia expects growth to come back but more importantly whether they will change their outlook for operating margins.