Mon, Dec 21, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Clear skies ahead for panel makers

NICE VIEWPrices of panels used in PC monitors could rise between US$1 and US$2 ahead of an expected shortage, while TV panels would remain unchanged

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prices for liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels are expected to perform better on unexpected inventory demand from TV and PC makers during the conventionally slack fourth and first quarters, researcher DisplaySearch said yesterday.

Prices of panels used in PC monitors could rise by between US$1 and US$2 per unit from the first half of this month on concerns of a shortage next quarter, while prices for TV panels could remain flat amid stronger-than-expected end demand, said the biweekly price report by the Austin, Texas-based researcher.

That would go against the traditional downtrend in panel prices during the fourth quarter as PC and TV makers become unwilling to increase their panel inventory after the Christmas shopping period.

“Because of some unexpected pull-in demand in December and higher-than-expected shipment plans [by PC makers] for the first quarter of 2010, supply is becoming an issue,” DisplaySearch said in the report.

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world’s No. 3 LCD panel manufacturer, had forecast that prices for PC and TV panels would drop by 5 percent and by a low single-digit percentage respectively this quarter from last quarter.

Smaller rival Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) forecast a bigger decline for PC panels of between 5 percent and 10 percent quarter-on-quarter.

The price for a typical mainstay 19-inch PC monitor panels is expected to rise US$1, or about 1.4 percent, to US$75 per unit, the ­DisplaySearch report showed.

That would bring the price decline for a 19-inch monitor panel to 1.29 percent from the end of September, DisplaySearch data showed.

Ending a 1.5-month drop, the price for a typical mainstream 32-inch TV panel would remain steady at US$203 per unit, DisplaySearch said.

In the second half of this month, prices for notebook computer panels are expected to slide by between US$1 and US$2 per unit from the first two weeks of the month as PC makers have excessive inventories.

DisplaySearch, however, expect prices for laptop panels to remain unchanged next month as PC makers start increasing purchase of flat panels next quarter in preparation for replacement demand later next year.

The nation’s top 5 laptop makers on a contract basis could see shipments drop at a slower-than-seasonal pace of 5 percent ­quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter, DisplaySearch said.

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