Thu, Feb 05, 2009 - Page 12 News List

LCD panel shipment may drop by 10%, DisplaySearch says

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Worldwide shipments of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels used in PCs and TVs may drop by another 10 percent this quarter as panel makers planned to retain low equipment utilization amid weak demand, market researcher DisplaySearch said in its latest report.

As consumers tighten belts, shipments of PC and TV LCD panels decreased by 19 percent quarter-on-quarter, or 17 percent year-on-year, to 93.5 million units globally in the final quarter of last year, the Austin, Texas-based researcher’s tally showed.

“Slow market demand in the fourth quarter of 2008 led to reductions in capacity utilization across all applications,” DisplaySearch said in a quarterly report released on Tuesday.

PRICE CUTS

Drastic cuts in panel prices led to PC and TV LCD panel revenues falling by 33 percent quarter-on-quarter, or 48 percent year-on-year, to US$12 billion in the three-month period ending Dec. 31, the report said.

As demand remains stagnant, the US research house expected PC and TV panel shipments to drop an additional 10 percent in the first quarter of this year, DisplaySearch vice president David Hsieh (謝勤益) said in the report, citing the researcher’s survey.

“We are forecasting that industry utilization will be less than 60 percent in the first quarter of 2009,” Hsieh said.

AU OPTRONICS

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world’s third-largest LCD panel supplier, told investors last month that it might keep factory usage unchanged at around 50 percent this quarter, compared to last quarter, citing limited visibility.

Shipments of PC and TV panels may decrease by between 15 percent and 20 percent this quarter from last quarter, AU Optronics said, faster than Hsieh’s forecast for the whole LCD industry.

Globally, LCD monitor panel shipments may decline by 9 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of this year and notebook PC panel shipments may slide by 11 percent, the report said. LCD TV panel shipment may fall by 10 percent this quarter, it said.

The only growth area is “other applications,” LCD panels used primarily in the industrial sector, which is expected to rise 8 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year, the researcher said.

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