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Post-quake LCD prices stable, says IHS

Posted: 20 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LCD prices? Japan quake? market?

A new report issued by IHS iSuppli reveals that prices of large-sized LCD panels for some applications increased, while prices of others decreased slightly due to the March 11 Japan earthquake and its aftermath. According to the market research firm, such price changes brought about an unusual balance in overall pricing in April and May amid unpredictable end consumer demand.

Average pricing for large-sized LCD panels dipped 0.5 percent in April, the smallest decrease during the previous nine months, IHS said. Average prices in May are expected to drop by an even more miniscule 0.1 percent, the firm said.

"All told, the large-sized LCD panel market appears to be mired in a period of general uncertainty following the Japan quake disaster two months ago, with conditions characterized by diverging pricing trends for products in the different applications," said Sweta Dash, senior director for display research at IHS, in a statement.

Notebook panel prices, for instance, are forecast to rise 0.2 percent in May after climbing 0.4 percent in April, IHS said, while monitor panel prices are expected to inch up sequentially by 0.14 percent. Average television panel prices, however, will fall 0.6 percent for the month, IHS said.

Consumer demand for LCD products such as TVs, monitors and notebooks remained weak in the first quarter, with tepid sales resulting in increased inventories, IHS said. But name brands in the electronics world are starting to build up stockpiles to serve as insurance against possible supply chain disruptions caused by the quake, the firm said.

If fallout from the Japan disaster impacts the supply of key components used in notebooks, TVs and monitor sets or in flat panels, the result could be short supplies and possibly rising prices, with vendors likely having more product on their hands than they could sell, further inflating the inventory, IHS predicted.

Large-sized LCD panels

In May, TV panel suppliers are expected to ask for an increase in prices or at least seek to maintain current pricing levels, bolstered by Chinese manufacturers buying panels after the Labor Day holiday for inventory replenishment and exports, along with a rise in demand from other emerging markets, IHS said. But buyers will find it difficult to accept any price increases, given that demand for television panels in the U.S. and Europe failed to recover in April and because production has been impacted in Japan, the firm said.

On the supply side, some amount of TV panel production has been impacted due to production cuts from a few Japanese fabs, such as Panasonic Corp.'s Gen 6 fab as well as Sharp Corp.'s Gen 8 and Gen 10 fabs, IHS said. Many Taiwanese suppliers also have cut their fab utilization rates due to weak panel demand, the firm said.

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