EL SEGUNDO, CA – The gloom and doom in the housing
market may have a major impact on consumer purchasing of LCD TVs and computer
monitors during the holiday season, according to iSuppli Corp.
Concerns are rising regarding the sub prime mess, the
turmoil surrounding the financial markets and how these issues will impact
business and consumer spending in the U.S., the research firm says. Rising
defaults on U.S. home loans may limit consumers’ disposable spending during the
holiday period this year, iSuppli adds.
“While LCD panel suppliers expect prices to increase for the
remainder of 2007 due to supply tightness, iSuppli believes inventory increases
will result in softness in panel demand among end-product makers and channel
participants, especially in the monitor market,” said Sweta Dash, director of
LCD and projection research at iSuppli. “This may affect fourth-quarter pricing
of large-sized panels. The issue could become more of a problem if consumers
stop spending and tighten their purse strings because of the mortgage problems
in the fourth quarter.”
From April through September, LCD makers raised the prices
of products at a 15 to 25% rate for notebook and monitor panels, and a 5 to 7%
rate for 32-inch and smaller TV panels, reports iSuppli. However, branded
vendors are being forced into price cuts to move inventory. The North American
market is the biggest cause for concern right now because of the tumultuous
economic atmosphere. However, the ramifications of this will be felt among the
Asian manufacturers and the global supply chain, the firm states.
In addition, while long-term demand for notebook panels is
still positive, notebook production may be impacted as a result of component
shortages, says iSuppli. Notebook panel production also may be impacted as
manufacturing capacity for these displays is diverted to fast-growing small- to
medium-size applications such as digital photo frames, personal navigation
devices, car TVs and ultra-mobile PCs.
Panel suppliers Innolux, CPT and AUO
are planning to shift more of their fourth and 4.5-generation capacity in some
of their fabs to small- and medium-sized panels, says iSuppli. Some are even
planning to use some fifth-generation capacity for those size panels. Notebook
panel prices increased by between 1 and 2% in September compared to August, the
iSuppi predicts actual notebook PC shipments in the second
half of the year will fall short of expectations because of component shortages.
Besides LCD panels, notebook PC manufacturers are reporting shortages of ICs,
batteries, optical drives and PCBs. Many notebook PC suppliers said they
expected these component shortages to last until October, while others are
concerned that they may continue through the end of the year. If notebook PC
production is indeed impacted by this component shortage throughout the
remainder of 2007, it will impact panel demand, adding to the overall
uneasiness being felt in the LCD industry, says iSuppli.
SAN JOSE, CA – Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose sharply in August, growing to $21.5 billion, an increase of 4.9% year-over-year, and an increase of 4.5% sequentially, the Semiconductor Industry Association reports.
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HERNDON, VA – The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, an industry-led consortium focused on identifying and closing technology gaps, has published its 2007 research priorities.
iNEMI grouped 90 identified needs into five research areas: manufacturing processes, system integration (IT and technology integration), energy and the environment, materials and reliability, and design.
HERNDON, VA – The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, an industry-led consortium focused on identifying and closing technology gaps, will kick-off its 2009 roadmap in Munich on Nov. 14 at Productronica.
This meeting will introduce the new product sector plans for the 2009 Roadmap, review key technology chapters from the 2007 Roadmap, and provide information about the roadmap process cycle for people interested in participating.
Preliminary work began on the product sector at a meeting held at IPC Midwest, and the product emulator group kick-off is scheduled for Oct. 12 at SMTAI in Orlando. Chairs of the group will meet with the technical committee and technology working group to identify key changes.
TEMPE, AZ – Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the eighth consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 71st consecutive month, reports ISM.
Manufacturing grew at a slower rate in September, as the PMI registered 52%, down 0.9 points from August, says ISM. New orders registered 53.4%, down 1.9 points sequentially. Production dipped to 54.6%, 1.5 points lower. Manufacturers’ inventories registered 41.6%, a decrease of 3.8 points. Customers’ inventories were 50%, up 1 point. Backlogs reached 51%, 0.5 points higher sequentially, the firm reports.
ISM spokesman Norbert J. Ore said, “Manufacturing growth continued in September, while some sectors of the economy are apparently struggling. The trend is toward slower growth in manufacturing, as the rate of growth in both new orders and production slowed. The sector is apparently in excellent shape with regard to inventories, as the inventories index fell to 41.6%, indicating significant inventory liquidation. Overall, September looks like a good month for manufacturing.”
WASHINGTON – Responding to the growing shortage of
engineers, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) in September introduced the
Strategic Technology/Engineering Program (STEP) Act of 2007 – “GI Bill style”
legislation that provides incentives for young people entering the engineering
The bill, H.R. 3634, creates new scholarships and loan
forgiveness for engineering students working toward their P.E. license.
“Our nation needs to make much more efficient use of the
available resources by recruiting students from our best and brightest high
school graduates and encourage them to go on to college to become our next
generation of engineers,” Cleaver said in a statement. “This legislation will
help support engineering students as they complete an education for an industry
that will always be in demand.”
The number of U.S. engineering graduates has steadily
declined in the last two decades, according to the National Science Foundation.
In addition, over 25% of the science and engineering workforce is older than 50
and expected to retire over the next 15 years.