LCD Prices Climbing During Recession, Chinese Farmers To Blame

Cheap electronics can be counted as one of the few perks of a recession, but because of China's stimulus plan, tobacco farmers in Qinhai and simple economics, LCD screens are actually getting more expensive.

Last month China announced a wide-reaching stimulus plan mostly centered around infrastructure development, many parts of which wouldn't sound totally unfamiliar to anyone who's been watching the news here for the last few months. Buried in a corner of the plan, though, is a home appliance and electronics subsidy for rural farmers. China has about 1.3 billion citizens, so it's not hard to see what's happening here: Demand for small-to-medium LCD screens is being driven up (don't worry, big HDTVs are fine), seeing a hike of around 4%-5% during March alone.

Now, these kinds of things tend to resolve themselves before too long, and those price increases I mentioned are just for LCD panel components, not whole monitors. But the analyst Nikkei spoke to doesn't see prices even stabilizing for at least another month, and expects another moderate increase in prices come May—quite possibly passing the threshold that'll force manufacturers to increase their whole-product prices.

When or how this'll be reflected in your LCD screen aisle at Best Buy remains to be seen, but if you see a small bump in prices, hey, at least you'll know you're not just getting gouged. [Tech-on]