Large panel sales suffer -

Panel makers are saying there's much lower demand for large-size LCD screens than they had hoped. 

According to an article in Digiimes, component producers have said that order visibility in the large panel market is unclear.

They pointed out that China's period of high growth in its LCD TV market has passed, meaning the annual growth would be a measly 15 percent compared to the 80-100 percent in previous years. If prices continue to fall globally then many firms would move to decrease their utilisation rates rather than operate at a loss.

The predictions are something that Bob Raikes, top analyst at Meko, agrees with. He told TechEye that at the moment there is "without question, weak demand in Europe for the major large LCD applications".

Meko, he said, tracks two of them - TVs and monitors - while other analysts have pointed out the weakness in the market for notebook PCs.

"Meko tracks inventory and sales results with major brands every month and the indexes for both TV and monitors have been getting worse in both areas," he said.

"Part of that is a normal seasonal pattern - demand is always weak in this part of the year, unless there is an Olympics or World Cup which can move some demand from Q3 to Q2 in 'even years'. This is an 'odd year', so there is nothing to stimulate the market. Consumers are also lacking in confidence in many parts of Europe.

"A look at the deals available in the high street shows there are more TVs around than consumers want to buy."

There are other factors dragging the industry down outside of Europe.

In the US, consumers are still getting their debts in order, while a combination of the tsunami and the end of a special campaign by the government to boost TV sales have combined to really drive demand down in Japan.

"We can't see where the demand is to help the panel makers get the supply / demand balance back to a point where they can push prices back up, even though they need to.

"It will be a brave panel maker that reduces its loading to try to tighten supply."