The global economic downturn has led to price drops in some parts of the computer hardware market. However, you probably shouldn't count on finding too many LCD monitor bargains out there—assuming iSuppli's numbers are accurate, that is. The research firm's latest report says LCD monitor panel prices are on the rise, "mostly due to an influx of rush orders coming from the domestic Chinese market, driven by the impact of China's rural consumer stimulus program."
iSuppli also attributes the increase to increased orders from "brands and retailers:"
These brand and retail orders mostly stem from demand for inventory replenishment because channels have kept their stockpiles at lower-than-normal levels since the end of 2008. With many panel prices for monitors having been drastically slashed to less than cash-cost levels, panel buyers in February started purchasing in droves in order to build a supply of cheap panels.
To put things in perspective, here's a line graph showing pricing trends for three mainstream panel types over the past few months:
Rising prices or not, iSuppli thinks LCD panel makers have a long way to go before getting over the poor economy. "In the absence of a strong rebound in end-market demand, rush orders are not likely to be sustained in May with component shortages being resolved by then, and panel demand is most likely to remain restrained at that time," comments iSuppli LCD researcher Sweta Dash.