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Electronics Production | March 02, 2011

Prices for Large LCD panels decline in February

Pricing for large-sized liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels are continuing to decline in February in light of soft demand and rising inventories, but the situation could improve by April when brands increase their TV panel purchasing, according to IHS iSuppli research.
Prices of large-sized LCD panels, defined as those ranging from 10 - 55 inches in the diagonal dimension, are projected to fall 1.2% on average across the product’s three main applications of televisions, monitors and notebooks. Price declines in the 1 percent range have been the norm in the last four months, and panel prices as a whole have not risen since March 2010. In particular, pricing for TV panels fell throughout the period, while that of monitor and notebook panels rose slightly in October and November.

Among branded vendors, panel inventory is at 3 - 6 weeks, considered normal to slightly high. However, inventory is expected to rise further this month because there are fewer days in February, translating into a shorter working period in which inventory can be used.

How pricing will fare during the next few months depends on two critical factors—final sales figures from the just-ended Chinese New Year holiday, as well as upcoming television launches in the United States and Europe. If sales on both fronts prove strong, panel inventory will return to healthy levels in April, helping overall panel prices to stabilize and perhaps stem the ongoing slide, IHS believes.

The February price decline contrasts markedly with conditions a year ago when panel prices were rising. Also this time last year, the large-LCD market faced glass and component shortages as well as labor issues that kept production levels down. Brands boasted low inventory levels then, and demand overall was strong.

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