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Digital Camera Factory Outputs Slowing

New York — In a sign of potentially slower category growth, both Japanese and Taiwanese digital camera OEMs are reporting a slowdown in shipments and exports.

According to the Japan-based Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA), digital camera exports from Japan experienced their first monthly decline, dropping 0.9 percent from 3.3 to 3.29 million units in February.

CIPA sited a European slowdown as the prime culprit.

Exports of digital SLRs, however, grew 48 percent in February 2005 vs. the same month last year, CIPA reported.

While not the epicenter of digital camera production, Taiwan has also felt a pinch in orders for new cameras.

Taiwanese factories are sitting on excess digital camera inventory as orders from Japanese camera makers never materialized, according to the firm Research and Markets.

Taiwanese camera manufacturers had expanded their capacity 2004 with the expectation that the 93 percent growth rates in shipments witnessed in 2003 would be repeated. However, markets in North America, Europe, and Japan cooled, the firm noted.

Though shipment growth reached 25.3 percent in 2004, low product profitability and continuing uncertainty over new orders left makers pessimistic about their ability to survive, Research and Markets said.