iSuppli: Quake Impact On TV Supplies Minimal

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El Segundo, Calif. - A flat-panel production report just released by

IHS iSuppli

is calling for large-sized LCD TV panel prices to marginally decline again this month, despite the recent Japanese quake and tsunami disasters.

Across the three major large-sized LCD panel applications for televisions, monitors and notebooks, pricing as a whole will fall 0.5 percent in April from their previous perch in March, the report found.

"The drop will be the smallest in several months, indicating a growing reluctance among panel suppliers to slash pricing any further especially at this time of the year, which is normally considered the slow selling season," IHS said.

Pricing developments varied among the three large-sized LCD panel applications.

In the television, large-sized LCD pricing declined by 0.8 percent - the only application to post a decrease.

In comparison, notebook panel pricing inched up by 0.2 percent, while monitor panel pricing rose by 0.4 percent, the report said.

"The slight decrease overall in large-LCD panel pricing shows that the segment has not yet suffered major impacts from the Japanese disaster," said Stacy Wu, IHS senior analyst for displays research. "Despite materials plants being shut down immediately after the quake, many manufacturing lines have recovered and production has returned. And though Japan's dominance in several key materials for panels might indicate potential vulnerability, suppliers are carrying approximately four to six weeks of inventory. The net effect of this inventory has been to limit supply disruptions to a minimum."

The findings support statements recently made by Sharp, when it temporarily shut down two large panel LCD plants to divert scarce supplies to smaller panel production.

Suppliers have warned, however, of potential trouble down the road.

"If assorted troubles - including the power outages now plaguing the country - continue and become prolonged, demand for panels may suffer, causing suppliers more difficulties," Wu noted.

The market research firm said weak sales for TVs in the United States and Europe, along with lukewarm inventory replenishment in China, combined to reduce pricing in March.

"Another slight decline in April is expected, given that TV panels are still in a state of oversupply," the report predicted.


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