Mon, Apr 06, 2009 - Page 12 News List

LCD panel prices could extend rebound

RECOVERING Prices for 26-inch and 32-inch LCD panels could rise 2.26 percent and 1.82 percent respectively, while prices for larger panels are expected to stabilize

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prices of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels could extend their rebound into the first half of this month as cautious production increases may not be able to match inventory buildup demand and nascent recovery in demand in China and North America, market research house DisplaySearch said in its latest report.

The Austin, Texas-based researcher expected to see supply constraint for some monitor panels as well as 26-inch and 32-inch wide-format TV screens.

“Demand from China is especially strong, with some increasing demand from North America as well,” DisplaySearch said in the report released on Saturday.

Prices for 26-inch and 32-inch wide-format LCD panels could rise 2.26 percent and 1.82 percent to US$136 and US$168 respectively in the first two weeks of this month, the report said.

DisplaySearch said prices for 37-inch, 40-inch and 42-inch widescreen TV panels were likely to stabilize in the next two weeks after a prolonged price decline. Some panel makers even intended to raise the price of 37-inch screens on tight supply, DisplaySearch said.

In the monitor panel sector, prices for mainstream 19-inch wide-format screens could lead the rebound by rising 1.56 percent to US$65 in the first half of this month from two weeks ago, following slight price rebounds in February and last month.

“Panel makers are raising fab utilization to meet current demand, but they are becoming cautious about their production planning amid concerns that second-quarter demand will not be as good as in March and April,” Displaysearch said in the report.

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), the nation’s two biggest LCD panel suppliers, have kept their equipment loading rate between 50 percent and 55 percent and between 35 percent and 45 percent respectively in the past two quarters to cope with the economic recession, which has hit the electronics sector hard.

Taipei-based market researcher WitsView said panel manufacturers should be careful about boosting output to avoid oversupply, as at least six new production lines around the world were expected to increase production in the present quarter, which is usually slow season for the panel industry.

Prices of monitor panels could see a downward shift next month if demand for TVs with 40-inch or bigger screens does not recover significantly, WitsView said.

In the notebook panel sector, demand for large notebooks could rebound in the coming months, the research firm said. Demand for new 16:9 notebooks is growing faster than expected, especially for the 15.6-inch wide-format model, it said.

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