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Global chip sales up 6.4% in April

Posted: 03 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chip sales  semiconductor revenue  PC demand  NAND flash 

According to the European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA), the three-month moving average of global chip sales in April was Rs.76,615.57 crore ($15.64 billion), up 6.4 per cent on that achieved the previous month, and the second straight monthly improvement.

Year-on-year sales came in at 25.1 per cent down on the corresponding month of 2008, representing an improvement of just under 4 per cent on the previous month's figures, which are complied by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organisation.

On a year-to-date basis, the figure of Rs.76,615.57 crore ($15.64 billion) represents a decline of 26.5 per cent, compared to the 29.8 per cent fall recorded in March 2009.

"It seems that worldwide semiconductor sales may have hit the bottom," suggests the ESIA (Brussels, Belgium).

Of the four geographic areas tracked by the WSTS, Europe was the only one in negative territory for month-on-month growth, at sales of Rs.10,620.37 crore ($2.168 billion), down 0.9 per cent when expressed in US dollars.

The Americas region, at Rs.12,726.81 crore ($2.598 billion), was up 0.5 per cent, Japan, at Rs.12,677.82 crore ($2.588 billion) showed a 2.4 per cent increase, with the Asia-Pacific region showing the fastest improvement, at Rs.40,355.44 crore ($8.283 billion) having increased by 11.9 per cent.

When expressed as year-on-year sales, all four regions are still showing significant declines for April, Europe down 35 per cent (compared with 34.7 per cent the previous month); the Americas down 21.6 per cent (22.2 per cent in March); Japan down 39 per cent (compared with the 40.1 per cent recorded for the previous month); and Asia Pacific down 17 per cent, a major improvement on the 26.3 per cent decline in March 2009.

Stunning figures
Bill McClean, president of IC Insights Inc., described the April chip figures ''stunning''—and for good reason.

''Comparing April 2009 to January 2009, the first month of the first and second quarter, respectively, worldwide IC unit sales were up 35 per cent,'' he said in a report. ''The IC market in dollars was up 22 per cent. If the May and June results follow the normal monthly pattern, 2Q09/1Q09 IC sales would be up 16-to-20 per cent. Moreover, 2Q09/1Q09 IC unit volume is currently on pace to grow at least 20 per cent.''

What's going on here? ''The IC inventory burn is over and inventory replenishment is well underway,'' he said. ''While 2009 PC and cell phone unit sales will likely be lower than in 2008, IC unit volumes in 1Q09 were shipping at levels that were well below what even 'slow' electronic system sales would dictate. As a result, we now have an inventory re-stocking surge taking place that is likely to continue into 3Q09.''

The surge reinforces IC Insights' outlook that the bottom was reached in 1Q '09 and that the IC industry is in the early stages of its recovery.

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