LCD HD Production Prices to Drop in Final Quarter

LCD TV and computer makers will likely be looking at LCD glass-panel price points to finally drop in the last quarter of 2009 (Oct.-Dec.), probably coming a bit too late for manufacturers to take full advantage of it at the retail level for the 2009 holiday sales season.

But the welcomed news on lower prices for manufacturers comes despite a global shortage of glass substrates due, in part, to a major facility shutting down prompted by an earthquake in August in Japan.

Prices for makers of LCD flat-screen panels increased an average of about 35 percent so far this calendar year, primarily due to cutbacks in production by several major LCD HD television and computer-monitor manufacturers, following a devastating final quarter of 2008. A tightening of supply — coupled with increased demand — had resulted in higher production prices for the first three quarters of 2009, according to iSuppli, a consultancy based in El Segundo, Calif.

The typical price for makers of a 32-inch LCD panel used in HD/DTV sets climbed from about $150 in the first quarter of this year, to more than $210 per panel in the third quarter.

An earthquake in Japan in late summer had halted production of glass substrates at the large Corning plant in Shizuoka. (Most of the glass not produced during the shutdown would have been earmarked for LCD maker Sharp.)