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Things starting to look brighter for LCD market

Posted: 24 Aug 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LCD? iSuppli? panels? Spencer Chin? LCD market?

The LCD market seems to be shaking off its almost year-long slump. In a recent report from iSuppli Corp., the prices of 17-inch LCD panels for desktop PC monitors are set to increase to $123 in December, compared to $102 in July.

Last week, WitsView projected prices of both 17-inch and 19-inch LCD monitor panels to inch up slightly in August, and continue inching up in September as monitor demand continues improving.

The rise in prices brings an end to the weak market conditions that had plagued the large-sized (10-inch and over) LCD panel since fall of 2005, WitsView said.

According to iSuppli, prices of 17-inch monitor panels had been declining since Oct. 2005 due lower-than-expected demand in the first half, increased panel inventory in the PC distribution channel, rising capacity at next-generation LCD fabs and brand manufacturers' efforts to reduce inventory in order to mitigate risk.

However, by the second half of Q2 of this year, most LCD panel suppliers already started cutting utilization rates to 85 to 90 percent, down from as high as 95 percent at the end of 2005. They also began reducing capital expenditures, iSuppli said.

The dire situation forced some panel suppliers to cut their 2006 and 2007 capital expenditures and delay expansion or construction of 7.5- and eighth-generation fabs. These decisions are likely to tighten supply and slow down LCD-TV panel reductions the second half of the year, according to iSuppli.

The firm added that slower expansion of next-generation fabs could squeeze the supply of monitor and notebook panels if TV demand remains strong.

- Spencer Chin
EE Times

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