TrendForce reports that panel makers are gearing up to transition from losses to gains in 2H23 by rigorously controlling production levels and producing on demand. The supply-demand ratio for Gen 5+ LCD panels in 2023 is predicted to be 2.1%—falling short of the balanced range of 3–5%—indicating a tight supply in the overall market.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine military conflict and high inflation will continue to affect the global economy and politics during 2023. The recent decline of the global economy, in particular, has significantly dampened the outlook on sales of whole TV sets since the performance of the TV market primarily depends on consumer demand. Therefore, TrendForce projects that shipments of TV panels will fall by 2.8% YoY to a total of 264 million pieces for 2023.
TrendForce indicates, overall utilization rate of LCD large generational fabs of Gen.5 and above (in terms of wafer starts) slipping to 60% in 4Q22 cannot be ruled out, which would be the lowest level in the past ten years. Sluggish panel demand and the fact that most panel makers have officially turned from profit to loss in 2Q22 are the key factors forcing panel makers to take a more rigorous approach to production control in 2H22.
Moving into 2H22, terminal brands continue to adjust their inventory, not only weakening panel demand, but also inducing a sustained drop in panel quotations. The sharp increase in operating pressure affecting panel manufacturers has forced the display industry to restrain production. According to TrendForce's "Monthly Panel Supplier Utilization Report," utilization rate (calculated by the volume of glass input) in 3Q22 is expected to fall to 70%, a substantial decrease of nearly 7.3 percentage points from 2Q22.
According to TrendForce, LCD TV panel quotations bore the brunt of continuous downgrades in the purchase volume of TV brands and pricing for most panel sizes have fallen to record lows. Recently, it was announced that the 32-inch and 43-inch panels fell by approximately US$5~US$6 in early June, 55-inch panels fell approximately US$7, and 65-inch and 75-inch panels are also facing overcapacity pressure, down US$12 to US$14. In order to alleviate pressure caused by price decline and inventory, panel makers are successively planning to initiate more significant production control in 3Q22. According to TrendForce’s latest research, overall LCD TV panel production capacity in 3Q22 will be reduced by 12% compared with original planning.
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce recently issued the latest Unverified List (UVL) which includes ChuZhou HKC Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd., according to TrendForce’s investigations. The announcement states that if U.S. suppliers wish to ship products to companies on the UVL, they can still submit documentation to obtain a shipping license. According to TrendForce’s understanding, the primary reason ChuZhou HKC is included on the UVL is that it plans to import panel-related analytical instruments from the United States in the near future, and actions taken by BIS are not indicative of the Chinese panel industry as a whole. Currently, ChuZhou HKC is in the process submitting proposals and negotiating with its U.S. material suppliers, thus TrendForce’s assessment is that there is no impact on the supply and shipment of ChuZhou HKC products for the time being.
Thanks to their continued capacity expansion and M&A efforts, Chinese panel manufacturers accounted for nearly 60% of the global supply of TV panels in 1H21, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. These suppliers have not only managed to dominate their global competitors, but also become the key determinant of the supply and demand situation in the TV panel market. TrendForce believes that, while the TV panel market has started to experience a bearish trend, the industry must pay close attention to whether Chinese suppliers will eschew their previous strategy of maximum capacity utilization and instead turn to other options in order to maintain the health of the overall market. Taiwanese and Korean suppliers, on the other hand, have opted for a strategy that optimizes their existing operations by reallocating some of their production capacities from TV panels to other product categories such as IT panels. In addition to raising these suppliers’ competitiveness through better product differentiation, the reallocation of production capacity also alleviates the suppliers’ pressure of having to rely solely on TV products to expend their panel capacities.