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LCD | September 17, 2008

TV panel shipments jump by 18.6% in August

According to WitsView’s survey, worldwide large-size panel shipments in August reached 35.3 million units, a 7.8% MoM increase and a mere 2.2% growth on year.
Since SI makers and brand vendors started to adjust their inventory levels in June, panel shipments have fallen for two consecutive months. The market environment has been further battered by the slowdown in the global economy, weak end market demand and absence of a market boost from the Beijing Olympics. However, for August, panel shipments have at least returned to June’s levels. "By observing the current panel orders placed by SI makers, due to the traditional strong seasonality (albeit much weaker than previous years), shipments are expected to continue increasing in the following months," said WitsView analysts.
 
Among the three main applications, TV panels experienced the biggest growth in August—a positive sign amid the current sluggish market conditions. With TV brand vendors starting to pull-in inventory for the year-end promotion sales, TV panels were up sharply by 18.6% to a new high of 9.2 million units. Size-wise, the 26”, 22” and 42” saw the most evident growth, up respectively by 62%, 30% and 26% MoM. In the IT segment, NB panel shipments were relatively the same as last month, down by a mere 0.7% to 11.1 million units. As for monitors, due to the low base level in July, it grew by 8.5% to 15 million units.



The aggregated large size panel area shipments in August reached 5.99 million square meters, up sharply by 13.2% MoM and 14% YoY. Due to brisk shipments of TV panels and rising volume of the above 20” (16:9) widescreen monitor products, the area shipment growth was even higher than unit shipments. TVs and monitor shipments were up respectively by 18.5% and 10.1% to 3.5 million and 1.7 million square meters. As for NBs, there were slightly down by 0.6% to 761K square meters.



Given the arrival of the traditional strong seasonality, based on the pull-in from SIs and brand vendors, the market demand is gradually improving. Coupled by preparations for China’s National Day holidays and year-end Christmas sales, panel shipments are expected to gradually increase MoM. "For September, IT panel shipments are expected to rise by 3~5%, while TVs will witness a roughly 10% growth," said WitsView analysts. However, in the wake of the macroeconomic woes and credit crisis in financial markets, the market confidence and consumer buying power have been seriously impacted. Spending on consumer electronic products could thus be affected. The uncertain global economy is bound to take a toll on the TFT LCD industry. With panel prices already near the cash cost level, panel makers are now under mounting pressure. The current key challenge to panel makers is striking a balance in the product mix, capacity allocation, plant expansion and formation of strategic alliances.
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