Large-sized panel shipments rose by 7.1% Mom to 40.59 million units in May

According to WitsView’s latest survey, global large-sized panel shipments (including the 8.9” and above) reached 40.59 million units in May09, up by 7.1% MoM and 4.6% YoY. For two consecutive months, shipments have steadily surpassed that of last year. The issue of invisible demand in the past has gradually cleared as robust domestic demand from China and deferred consumption spurred the upstream panel shipment, and prolonged the market momentum in 1Q09. Meanwhile, in order for panel makers to break-even in the second quarter, panel prices were on an upswing, resulting in simultaneous increase of price and quantity in May09. To avoid losing market share, the majority of downstream vendors have decided, at this stage, to suffer the difference of its cost and retail price rather than making adjustments following this wave of panel price surge. However, end market demand will be the key factor in the future, as it will affect panel pricing trend.

In terms of the 3 main applications, growth of shipments was maintained in May09. In the IT panel segment, shipments were affected by the slow season and growth rates were not as salient as that of last month. First, the shipments of 8.9’’ and above Netbooks and NB panels reached 13.50 million units, up by 5.8% MoM, the growth narrowed compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, monitor panels were up by 4.5% MoM to 15.75 million units. In addition, spurred by cross-strait purchase policy between China and Taiwan, growth of TV panel shipments remained a hot topic as it enjoyed double-digit growth of 12.6% to 11.34 million units.

Table 1: TFT-LCD Panel Shipment in May-09 (K units)

The aggregated area shipments advanced by 7.4% MoM to 6.62 million square meters. The growth rate remained steady due to the increase of TV panel shipments. On a YoY basis, even though monitor panels and NB panels were down by 8.8% and 19.9% respectively, the aggregated area shipments maintained an increment of 11.4% thanks to the 31.4% growth of TV panels. The impact of China’s electronic product subsidy program should not be underestimated. In terms of the aggregated area shipments of the 3 main applications, monitor panels climbed by 4.6% MoM, to 1.91 million square meters; NB panels rose by 4.6% MoM to 780K square meters. Finally, TV panels In May09, TV panels posted the largest increase among the 3 main applications, reaching 3.93 million square meters, up by 9.4% MoM.

Table 2: TFT-LCD Panel Area Shipment in May-09 ( K square meter)

TV Panels

In May09, TV panels grew by 12.6% MoM, and by a whopping 40.5% YoY to 11.346 million units. Upon a closer study of the soaring shipments, the surge of the 73.5% growth in panels of 26’’W and below was stimulated by the 2000 RMB subsidy in the first wave of China’s electronic product subsidy program. Moreover, 32’’W panels enjoyed outstanding growth of 48% while growth of panels 37’’W and above were limited by relatively higher ASP prices and the existing macroeconomic woes in 1H09, posting 15% growth. However, generally speaking, salient growth of TV panel shipments was observed.

In line with the size shifts YoY, similar trend was observed in the MoM shipment size ratios; 40’’W and above continued to slip by 2.8%, and the shipment sizes were mostly concentrated in the small-sized segments of 26’’W and below, 32’’W and 37’’W, growing 1%, 1.6% and 0.2% respectively. The primary factor was the relatively low panel prices which won the favor of consumers in this gloomy economy. However, before the advent of the peak season in 2H09, TV vendors are bound to run promotions for 40’’W and above items in order to secure its global market share. As a result, sales figures of 40’’W and above will become the determinant factor of the overall performance of the TV sector.

NB Panels

The aggregated NB panel shipments (which included the 8.9” and above) in May09 reached 13.5 million units, up by 5.8% MoM and 7.5% YoY. However, if only the 12.1’’ NB panels are considered, a decline of 16.5% remained. It is evident that Netbook is the main driver of the growth of NB panel shipment. In addition, the mass-production of 16:9 models led to the gradual replacement of the formerly mainstream 14.1’’W and 15.4’’W.

Size-wise, the market share of the 11.6 inch and below Netbooks continued to maintain share rise of 1.8%. However, due to the 1.8% increase of 11.6’’W by Taiwanese panel maker, the 10.x’’W shipment dropped by 3.8%. Of all 12.1’’W and above shipments, ones that grew were 13.3’’W (+1%), 13.4”W(+0.7%) and15.6”W(+4.4%). On the other hand, sales of 16’’W and above became stagnant, resulting in falling shipment ratio compared to Apr09.

Monitor Panels

In May09, monitor panel shipments rose by 4.5% MoM to 15.754 million units, however, a drop of 13.3% YoY was still sustained; therefore, performance remained well below par. Faced with reduced inventory replenishment and the impending slow season, sales of monitor panels and sell-through weakened. However, panel production was limited due to the shortage of G5 and G6 glass. It was a blessing in disguise for panel makers as it drove up the price of monitor panels. As a result, current price and demand appeared rather uncorrelated.

Size-wise, it was impacted by the panel shortage problem, decline of shipment ratio in several models was observed, the most severe was in 17’’W, down by 1.8%. Further, 19’’w and 22”W slid by 1.2% and 1% respectively. Among those with growing shipment ratios, 18.5’’W was the only size which posted substantial growth of 3%; there were no significant changes in other sizes.

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