Mon, Jan 19, 2009 - Page 12 News List

LG says panel prices have hit bottom

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LG Display Co, the world’s second-largest liquid-crystal-display (LCD) maker, said panel prices have hit bottom as demand rises for televisions in markets including China.

“Prices of TV panels won’t fall further and may actually increase,” chief executive officer Kwon Young-soo said on Friday in Seoul, where the company is based. “TV demand will continue to rise, especially after China expanded its subsidy program.”

China last month extended subsidies to 14 provinces for farmers to buy selected TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and mobile phones at a discount in a bid to tap the potential of the 800 million consumers living in the countryside, and will expand that measure nationwide next month.

There is a shortage of some LCD models in the industry, Kwon told reporters, without providing panel sizes.

LG Display forecast on Friday, when reporting its first loss in seven quarters, a “limited” possibility of further price drops this quarter, helped by production cuts by makers including Sharp Corp and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電).

“Higher demand from China may help prices to rebound in the first half,” Jeff Kim, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co in Seoul, wrote in a note on Saturday.

“Still, the outlook in the second half is still uncertain because of the global economy,” Kim said.

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