In view of aggressive procurement activities for panels used in various applications, TrendForce forecasts a 2% glut ratio for the large-sized TFT-LCD panel market for 2021, representing a supply and demand situation that ranges from “healthy” to “slightly in shortage”. As a lack of components constrained panel shipment in 1H21, the overall panel market during this period had a 1.2% glut ratio, which was lower than the average range of 2.5-3% and represented a supply shortage in the panel market. Hence, panel prices were driven into an uptrend for the first half of the year.
Regarding the glass input of panel suppliers for 1H21, despite the tight upstream supply of glasses due to certain work safety-related accidents, the overall capacity utilization rate of panel suppliers remained above 80%. Furthermore, as newly installed capacities, including CSOT’s T7 fab and HKC’s production lines in Changsha, kick off production, large-sized TFT-LCD glass input by area grew to 117.8 Mn2 (million square meters). On the other hand, owing to the proliferation of the stay-at-home economy last year, most display brands carried a relatively low level of inventory, which prompted them to ramp up their panel procurement. However, owing to a shortage of ICs, panel glass shipment (by area) for 1H21 reached a mere 116.4 Mn2.
TrendForce expects two developments to take place in 2H21: First, the arrival of the traditional peak season for monitors in 3Q21 means that demand for IT panels will still remain above a certain baseline; second, there is an ongoing trend for TVs to shift towards large-sized form factors. In light of these factors, although panel suppliers are expected to install significant amounts of production capacity in 4Q21 and thereby drive the glut ratio of panels to 2.6% for 2H21, this overall glut ratio is still within a healthy range. Nevertheless, as suppliers gradually ramp up their newly installed capacities, the quarterly glut ratio of panels is expected to increase by 0.5% from 2.4% in 3Q21 to 2.9% in 4Q21. Not only is 2.9% the highest quarterly glut ratio in 2021, but it is also the second highest since 1Q20, during which the onset of COVID-19 led to an oversupply of panels at a 7.5% glut ratio. TrendForce therefore believes that peak demand in the panel market has already passed.
Regarding the glass input and shipment by area for 2H21, certain panel suppliers are expected to perform routine fab maintenance during the holiday season. Even so, as Gen 10.5 production lines from certain suppliers and various other production lines from HKC begin ramping up capacities, the overall large-sized TFT-LCD glass input area is expected to massively increase by 5.9% compared to 1H21 to 127.2 Mn2 in 2H21. In particular, 4Q21 will see the highest quarterly glass input by area, at 64 Mn2. As previously mentioned, the shift towards larger-sized TFs and the persistent demand for IT products are expected to propel the overall demand for large-sized TFT-LCD glass in 2H21 to 123.9 Mn2, which is 1.4% higher than 1H21.
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