Mixed Japan Electronic Materials Market

Japanese demand of electronic materials shows mixed signs. The makers keep full capacity operations for electrolytic copper foil of printed circuit board and silicon wafer of semiconductor circuit board when the demand expands for digital appliances, cell phone, personal computer and automobile. However, the demand is slow for products with limited applications including indium tin oxide sputtering target materials, which is used for transparent conductive film of liquid crystal panel, after World Cup soccer in June.Electrolytic copper foil makers including Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Nippon Mining & Metals and Furukawa Circuit Foil keep full capacity operations since summer 2005. The demand is firm for commodity grade foil while the demand of their focusing high valued products keeps firm. Silicon wafer makers including Shin-Etsu Chemical, SUMCO Corporation, Komatsu Electronic Metals and Toshiba Ceramics enjoy favorable market. Three of the 4 makers revised the earning forecast upward under firm demand for wafer with 300 millimeters diameter. Liquid crystal panel demand slowed down. The panel supply is oversupply in Taiwan after World Cup. The capacity utilization of thin film transistor liquid crystal panel decreased to 86% in April-June from 94.7% in January-March, according to Display Search of USA. Under the slower activity, Mr. Masanori Okada, president of Nippon Mining & Metals said indium tin oxide demand slowed down since late June. However, Japanese industry interests including Mr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa, president of Dowa Mining expect the adjustment is temporally. The demand is expected to improve toward Christmas business and Chinese New Year.