As a result of increased output from new liquid crystal display (LCD) panel fabs and a softening demand, inventory levels are forecast to be greater than normal in the second half of 2015, according to a new report from IHS.
In December 2013, LCD TV panels reached a peak of 4.7 weeks of inventory. Since then, panel makers have maintained normal inventory levels. IHS believes this situation is changing. However, panel manufacturers did not slow production in the second quarter of this year, the market shifted to an oversupply situation. Inventory levels are expected to rise beyond the normal range to reach 4.9 weeks by the end of the third quarter, which may result in a further decrease in panel prices in the second half, IHS says.
“Weak demand caused by the soft global economy and supply increases following the initiation of mass production at three generation 8.5 (Gen 8.5) fabs in China, will likely further aggravate the LCD panel supply-and-demand imbalance,” says Ricky Park, director of display for IHS Technology. “Manufacturers maintaining current utilization rates at existing production lines will also increase inventories.”
Part of the oversupply issue resides within the TV manufacturers that purchased too many TV panels in the first half of this year, he says. These TV vendors were anticipating greater consumer demand in the second half of the year. However, due to stagnant growth in the LCD TV market, TV manufacturers are likely to reduce their panel purchase for the remainder of the year, he says.
The major issue facing TV panel suppliers is that output from China is expected to increase further despite an oversupply situation due to aggressive production schedules at new Gen 8.5 fabs at BOE, ChinaStar and CEC Panda. As a result “LCD TV panel prices will continue to decline through the third quarter of this year, however, some models are still profitable, so panel makers do not necessarily intend to reduce their output,” he says.
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