Fri, Oct 17, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Merrill Lynch cuts growth forecast for shipments of PCs

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Merrill Lynch lowered its forecast for growth of fourth-quarter PC shipments by Taiwanese companies from 3 percent to 1.6 percent, attributing the change to the slowdown in the global economy, the company said on Wednesday.

“[Shipments of] notebooks are expected to increase by 10 percent quarter-on-quarter, compared with Taiwan’s normal seasonal 19 percent quarter-on-quarter [rise], while the fourth-quarter outlook for motherboards has been lowered from negative 5 percent to negative 7 percent, compared with a normal seasonal increase of 14 percent,” Tony Tseng (曾省吾), a Merrill Lynch analyst based in Taipei, wrote in the report.

Tseng said the revisions were a reaction to mixed results in the third quarter, when notebook shipments grew 23 percent quarter-on-quarter, compared with a historical average of 12 percent, but motherboard shipments declined 7.6 percent, against a historical seasonal increase of 21.6 percent.

Despite the pessimistic fourth-quarter outlook, Taiwan’s monthly PC shipment growth increased from 1 percent in August to 12 percent year-on-year last month, in line with Merrill’s forecast of 13 percent, the financial firm’s data showed.

The report attributes last month’s promising growth to “low-priced netbooks, solid demand in China and a pickup in Europe, offsetting general weakness [in sales of] desktops and corporate and high-end notebooks.”

Moreover, the report said actual notebook growth of 45 percent year-on-year continued to overshadow the steep decline of 12 percent in motherboard shipments as a result of consumer demand for high mobility.

Tseng previously estimated 43 percent for growth of notebook shipments and negative 9 percent for motherboards year-on-year.

Together, Tseng said, total shipments were up 12 percent year-on-year, compared with the company’s estimate of 13 percent.

Merrill said PC shipment growth was strong overall over the last six months, but had fallen over the last 12 months.

The report said Taiwan’s original design manufacturers produced the majority of world PC output.

In 2000, it produced 36 percent of worldwide PCs, a figure that grew to 75 percent this year.

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