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The jury is out on whether there is a shortage of TFT panels for notebooks and monitors, a senior display analyst said today. That follows reports throughout this year that notebook prices and LCD monitors would suffer price hikes as manufacturers struggled to build up supplies. But Bob Raikes, director of research at UK company Meko, said that opinions were divided on whether the shortage exists or not. Raikes said: "On the one hand, two major analysts say that there will be a very big shortage until the end of next year, but another major analyst says there isn't a shortage at all." He said that it was in some companies' interests to talk up a shortage. Raikes said: "Very few vendors haven't got stock. This is a difficult one to call and a lot of people stand to gain a lot from reports of a shortage.@ The LCD market, said Raikes, is a commodity business like memory. Most notebook panels, for example, obey similar market rules of supply and demand. He said that prices for consumers had risen since the summer. A 15-inch LCD monitor, for example,currently costs around £700, when in summer it's price was around the £550-£600 mark. But deals can be had, he said. The earthquake in Taiwan had had little effect on the prices because most manufacturers there have not yet ramped up supplies. Acer, he suggested, may have lost some production. ®

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