LCD monitors cost more (for now)
TFT panel prices are marching upwards, translating into higher prices for LCD monitors for PCs. Asian producers in Taiwan and Korea are quoting higher contract prices for April, on the back of strong demand for notebook panels, and on supply shortages for 15in desktops versions.
TFT producers are quoting US$255-265 for 15in screens April, $10 up on March, which in turn were 10 per cent or so up on February. They are quoting $245-250 for 14.1in notebook screens, $20 up on March, Digitimes reports. In February, contract prices for 14.1in panels rose 10 per cent from $190-$200 to $220, according to Asiabiztech.
The Japanese newswire says that lossmaking TFT producers in Taiwan could scramble back into the black, by raising "prices as high as they can be until the demand reaches a ceiling".
The price rise is probably temporary, according to the newswire which notes hugely increased production capacity coming on stream in the second half of 2002.
In the meantime PC vendors may have to take some of the strain. Many system builders have already raised prices this year to reflect the modest rebound in DRAM prices, while Apple this month raised its iMac prices by $100, reflecting a 25 per cent hike in 15in LCD prices as well as higher DRAM prices.
However, for most PC makers there is little leeway to raise prices very far in what remains a very soft consumer market in the major Western countries. ®