Large-sized panel shipments increase by 25.1% MoM to 27.82 million units in February 2009

According to WitsView’s survey, global large-sized panel shipments (including the 8.9” and above) reached 27.82 million units in Feb09, up by 25.1% MoM. But on a YoY basis, it still amounted to a 16.1% fall. After 5 consecutive monthly declines since Sep08, an increase was finally witnessed in Feb09. This was mainly attributed to the downstream vendors and retailers inventory restocking in the start of the new 2009 fiscal year. Coupled by China’s “Home Appliances to the Countryside” policy, the growth momentum behind monitor and small-sized TV shipments grew considerably. The current utilization rates can not catch up with the influx of rush orders. The previous uncertain panel order visibility has become clearer through April. Nevertheless, in the wake of last year’s sluggish market conditions, most panel makers are still conservatively observing the market demand after May. Despite the rush order effect and panel shipment increase, whether the market can more notably rebound will rest on how the confidence level of the entire TFT LCD supply chain develops.

In Feb09, double-digit shipment increases were seen for all 3 major applications. In the IT panel segment, the 8.9” and above Netbooks and conventional NB panels increased by 22.1% MoM to 8.344 million units. The growth mainly stemmed from the sharp increase of Netbooks, as such products have grown very popular amid the slowing global economy. Meanwhile, monitor panels were up by 36.4% MoM to 11.85 million units. Posting the largest monthly increase compared to the other two applications, the explosive growth was attributed to the downstream brand and retailer inventory replenishments. Finally, thanks to China’s electronic product subsidy program for rural areas and a small demand increase in Europe, TV panels climbed by 13.6% MoM to 7.621 million units.

TFT-LCD Panel Shipment in Feb-09 (K units)

In terms of the aggregated area shipments, they grew by 18.5% MoM from 3.94 million square meters in Jan09 to 4.66 square meters in Feb09. But like the unit shipments, there was still a 12.1% YoY decline. Due to the strong growth momentum mentioned earlier, monitor panels grew by a whopping 35.2% MoM to 1.44 square meters. Meanwhile, the NB and TV segments also posted double-digit increases, where the two grew respectively by 18.1% and 11.3% MoM to 512 K square meters and 2.71 million square meters. As the Netbook and small-sized TV were the key shipment sizes, their area panel consumption was limited. Thus, the NB and TV area shipment growth were not as notable as the unit shipments.

Figure: TFT-LCD Panel Area Shipment in Feb-09 ( K square meter)

TV Panels

In Feb09, TV panels grew by 13.6% MoM and 0.3% YoY to 7.621 million units. Benefiting from China’s subsidy program, TV shipments finally returned to last year’s base level, delivering a positive signal in terms of the forthcoming TV panel demand. Size-wise, the shipment ratio of the 26” and below continued to grow. After the ratio rose by 2.9 percentage points in Jan09, it climbed by another 2.5 percentage points in Feb09. This stemmed from the notable growth of the 18.5”W, 19”W, 21.6”W and 22”W moni-TVs. Moreover, maintaining a more than 40% shipment share, the mainstream 32”W shipment ratio reached 41% in Feb09. Finally, the higher-priced 40”W and above slipped by 0.9 percentage points over Jan09, as the global economic slowdown further dragged down their market sales.

NB Panels

The aggregated NB panel shipments (which included the 8.9” and above) in Feb09 reached 8.34 million units. Although this equaled to a 22.1% MoM increase, compared to the same period of last year, shipments fell by 15.7%. The drop shows that the NB market is still relatively weak. Size-wise, as the mainstream Netbook size continued to migrate to the 10.x”W, their shipment ratio rose sharply by 6.1 percentage points in Feb09. As for the larger 12.1” and above conventional sized NBs, excluding the 12.1”W and 16:9 14”W, the “market squeeze” from Netbooks resulted in shipment ratio declines for all sizes.

Monitor Panels

In Feb09, monitor panel shipments jumped by 36.4% MoM to 11.85 million units. But on a yearly basis, it was equivalent to a 24.4% drop. It can seen that despite the influx of rush orders, the total shipments have not reached last year’s levels. A key reason behind the sharp monthly growth stemmed from the previous low shipment base level. It is advised that the future market trend should still be viewed cautiously. Size-wise, increases were primarily seen in the 16:9 portion. More specifically, the 15.6”W was up by 1.2%, the 18.5W up by 3.8%, the 21.5”W up by 1.4% and the 24”W up by 0.4% .



Based on the notable panel shipment increases in Feb09, the short-term market fundamentals have indeed improved. However, aside from TV panels reaching similar shipment levels in the same period of last year, the IT segment were still much lower over the same period in 2008. Thus, close attention should be placed on how the IT products perform during the traditional strong seasonality in 2H09, and how it may affect the general supply chain and market potential of different regions. Although the market should not be too pessimistic toward the future outlook, caution is still advised.

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