Earthquake to minimally affect LCD Glass Supply

An earthquake in early August in Japan near a Corning glass plant that makes LCD monitors for HD/SD sets and PCs will "slightly exacerbate" an existing shortage of glass for LCDs, according to industry analyst iSuppli. However, the overall impact will not likely have a major impact on LCD panel supplies for the all-important holiday sales season starting in November.

The earthquake did result in American-owned Corning suspending production at its glass-making plant located near Shizuoka, Japan — temporarily disrupting production of Sharp's eighth-generation LCD fabrication line. (The 8-gen substrates are cut into glass panels mostly for 32- and 40-inch panels.)

According to iSuppli, glass suppliers routinely increase their LCD glass product output for the holiday season, and it predicts that overall supply for this "key raw material" is expected to exceed demand by the start of the fourth quarter (Oct. 1).

Most other LCD glass facilities operated by Corning and other glass makers globally continue to operate normally.

LCD glass was in drastic over-supply mode in the last two quarters of 2008, and major production cutbacks in the first quarter of this year has helped stabilize the LCD glass supply climate.