Local flat-panel makers are optimistic about the business outlook for next quarter, encouraged by global COVID-19 economic stimulus measures and businesses reopening in Europe and the US, a survey conducted by the Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (光電科技工業協進) showed yesterday.
The sector’s confidence index increased to 60 for next quarter, compared with 40 for this quarter, the survey showed.
A figure above 50 indicates an expansion.
That indicates that most panel manufacturers believe the economic slump has hit the bottom and are expecting a recovery, the association said.
“There will be [quarterly] growth in the third quarter, in the range from flat to a mild increase,” it said.
A sub-indicator measuring levels of confidence about the outlook posted a significant increase, the survey showed.
About 21 percent of companies are optimistic about the business outlook next quarter, up from 7 percent this quarter, while 36 percent expect their business to be flat or to grow moderately, up from 21 percent this quarter, it showed.
Not a single company was pessimistic about the next quarter, compared with 29 percent this quarter, the survey showed.
Another encouraging indicator for the sector is that TV panel prices have rebounded this month, according to another industry researcher, Omidia.
It said that the pandemic was a swing factor for the panel sector this year.
“In June, panel makers announced an increase in panel prices by between 5 and 10 percent or more, varying by panel size,” Omidia said in a monthly report. “Some TV makers are rushing to pull in their panel purchase volumes into June from the third quarter.”
“At the same time, there are increasing numbers of TV makers wanting to add more panel purchase volumes for the third quarter, which is all beyond panel makers’ available supply as some panel makers already reallocated their TV panel capacity to make notebook computer or monitor panels,” it said.
TV makers are also expecting that the impact of South Korean panel makers shutting down fabs would start to emerge in the second half of this year, Omidia said.
The price of mainstay 32-inch TV panels has risen 10 percent to US$34 per unit this month, up from US$31 last month, the researcher said.
All Chinese TV makers have increased their buying plans for next quarter by about 25 percent, or 5.5 million units, compared with their previous forecasts, following South Korean TV makers, Omidia said.
South Korean TV brands last month decided to buy 30 percent more panels next quarter compared with this quarter, it said.
Such robust demand has seen panel makers sharply increase their prices, as they are “desperate to ease their financial pain,” Omidia said.
Shares of Taiwanese panel maker Innolux Corp (群創) yesterday rose 1.27 percent to close at NT$7.96 in Taipei trading, while those of AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) fell 0.43 percent to close at NT$9.30.
The shares outperformed the benchmark TAIEX, which closed down 1.01 percent.
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