Mon, Jun 06, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Rebound in LCD panel prices falters

DASHED HOPES:Panel makers had hoped to hike prices, but price negotiations in the West will remain tough, with some TV brands likely cutting back shipment targets

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

LCD panel prices were little changed in the first half of this month from two weeks ago as persistent sagging demand in North America and Europe dashed panel makers’ hopes of hiking prices on improving demand from China, the latest report released by market researcher DisplaySearch showed.

The latest price quote ended a short-lived rebound last month after a one-and-half-year downtrend put most LCD panel manufacturers in the red.

The Austin, Texas-based research house said in a report released on Saturday that panel makers “intend to increase the [TV panel] prices in the first half of June.”

Returning to profit was now the priority of those companies, the research firm said.

“Global TV brands are still struggling with weak sales, particularly in the Western Europe and North American markets, and those price negotiations will remain tough as some TV brands are likely to cut back their shipment targets” DisplaySearch said.

However, TV sales in China during the Labor Day holidays were good and Chinese TV makers were increasing orders to rebuild inventory, DisplaySearch said.

Because some Chinese TV brands were running short of panels, they were willing to buy panels at higher prices, it said.

The price for a 32-inch LCD TV panel held steady at US$151 a unit in the first half of this month, compared with two weeks ago, DisplaySearch’s statistics showed.

Weakness was also seen in the monitor and computer segments, which were undercutting recent price hikes in computer panels, DisplaySearch said.

Prices for panels used in monitors and notebook computers were flat in the first two weeks of this month, from the second half of last month.

The price of a mainstream 19-inch monitor panel was priced at US$62, while the price for a 14-inch notebook computer panel was US$43, according to DisplaySearch’s statistics.

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the nation’s No. 2 panel maker, told investors on April 27 that it expected prices for TV panels to bounce back last month, while prices for PC panels would rise by a high-single digit percent on rising shipments of higher-priced tablet panels.

AU Optronics losses widened to NT$13.9 billion in the first quarter, from losses of NT$11.34 billion in the final quarter of last year, after TV panel prices fell 3 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Shares of the nation’s biggest LCD panel maker Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子) dropped 1.2 percent to NT$28.7 on Friday, while AU Optronics rose 0.86 percent to NT$23.4.

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