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iSuppli: Quake Impact On TV Supplies Minimal

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

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

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

“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.