LCD prices will start to soar

The reasons are murky, but manufacturers of TFT-LCD screens are predicting a price hike over the next few weeks.

The Taipei Times, for example, quotes a number of sources in Taiwan that said that the period of “oversupply” had ended, and prices will go up by between two to three percent this month. It claims that the fabs that make LCD glass have been busy supplying the ultra thin screen market, and this has had an impact on the overall supply.

The mystery deepens, because according to market research company Displaysearch, American firms have been visiting the major centres of LCD supply – that is to say Korea, Japan and Taiwan, to see why there is a big shortage.

Said a Displayreseach analyst: “The shortage situation seems unbelievable considering the economic conditions over the past six months.”

There’s another unbelievable factor here too. Before the credit crunch started to get into its stride, us technology journalists kept getting releases from the major manufacturers of TFT-LCD screens telling us about the vast acres of glass the companies are, that is to say were, rolling out.

There may be a shortage, but the reasons for it, if not unbelievable as Displaysearch said, stretch incredulity to breaking point. Shrewd buyers of monitors have antennae that can sense fishy smells at some distance, even across continents.

DRAM first, now TFT-LCD panels? Just check out Corning’s last set of financial results for a clearer picture of demand and supply.