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A shortage of 32″ LCD TV panels could push up prices before xmas.

Although Sharp and Samsung Electronics are positive about the outlook for LCD TV panels in 2005 and foresee a coming shortage in 32-inch LCD TV panels, Taiwan-based panel makers hold conservative attitudes towards the tight supply claims the Diggi Times.

Samsung sees strong demand for 32-inch LCD TV panels and the company’s capacity can only meet 50% of the demand, according to Woosik Chu, Senior Vice President of Samsung’s investor-relations team speaking at the Korea Electronics Show (KES), quoting from Dow Jones. Chu also said that as ASPs (average selling prices) for LCD monitor panels decrease dramatically while capacity may lag behind demand, Samsung may plan to shift part of its TFT LCD panel capacity from LCD monitors to LCD TVs, the report indicated.

Sharp said on Tuesday that supply of LCD TV panels larger than 32 inches would likely fall short of demand by 15-30% in 2005, according to a report from Reuters.

In addition, the Japan-based newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun recently reported that supply for color filters (CF) for large size panels from Japanese panel makers is now running short of supply and that Taiwan-based panel makers are having difficulty in making self-produced CFs in sixth generation (6G) plants, all of which may accelerate the panel supply shortage.

The Chinese-language Economic Daily News cited Hsiung Hui, executive vice president of AUO as confirming that there is now indeed a shortage of 6G CF.

However, Taiwan-based panel marker Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) holds a different opinion. Although supply for 32-inch LCD TV panels indeed is slightly lagging behind demand by 20%, the imbalance will diminish in the short run, CMO said. Demand in the market may be less than expected if TFT LCD panel makers are too optimistic about the outlook, the company added. In addition, other Taiwan-based LCD panel makers also pointed out that the shortage for the 32-inch segment will gradually ease with ramping capacity for 32-inch LCD TV panels.

ASPs (average selling prices) for 32-inch LCD TV panels, which are not affected by the tight supply, are staying between US$550-560, CMO said, adding that the prices may remain flat through the end of November.

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