Barclays Capital trims Q4 PC growth forecast


TAIPEI–Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of UK-based Barclays Bank Plc, has cut its global PC growth forecast for the fourth quarter of this year due to continued weak demand and a shortage of hard drive disks (HDD) resulting from the flooding in Thailand.

The bank lowered its fourth-quarter forecast for PC growth from 7.2 percent to 4.3 percent and its whole year forecast from 4.4 percent to 3.4 percent, in a recent research note.

In its projections for the next two years, it dropped its 2012 forecast for the sector from 6.5 percent to 5.1 percent, and its 2013 prediction from 5.1 percent to 4.4 percent.

“It appears that the most of the PC brand companies and notebook ODMs remain cautious toward the fourth-quarter outlook due to both the weak global economy and HDD supply chain disruptions,” said Kirk Yang, head of Asia ex-Japan tech hardware research.

“The concerns will likely continue into the first quarter of 2012, before normal HDD production in Thailand resumes, and we expect 2012 PC shipments to be back-end loaded,” Yang said.

The rapid growth of tablet computers are cannibalizing PC demand by offering similar functionality, while there are also signs of decelerating corporate PC sales, given a lack of job growth, he said.

The weak macro environment, he said, is also delaying PC upgrades as consumers and companies have decided to wait a little longer before making purchase decisions.

As a result, Barclays Capital continues to favor Asian brand PC companies such as Acer Inc., Asustek Computer Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. because of their higher exposure to emerging markets, higher PC sales with similar operating expenditures, faster launch of Ultrabook laptops and favorable component prices, Yang noted.