FEB 21--According to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI; San Jose, CA; www.semi.org), the North American-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment reported $1.9 billion in orders for January 2001 and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.81. The orders were 19% lower than shipments for the month and the ratio represented the sharpest decline in 12 months. This ratio means $81 in orders were received for every $100 worth of products shipped. Semiconductor equipment vendors have mostly lowered their forecasts for the first half of this year and cut their spending.
Stanley T. Myers, SEMI president and chief executive officer, says, "In light of uncertainty about global macroeconomic conditions, consumer spending, and average selling prices of semiconductor devices, chipmakers are exercising greater caution in their capital investments. Most industry watchers had anticipated a contraction in orders. However, the magnitude of the decline represents a more immediate response on the part of the chipmakers to curtail spending than we saw in the previous cycle."
The three-month average of worldwide bookings of $1.9 billion for January 2001 was 21% lower than the revised December 2000 level of $2.4 billion and 15% less than the $2.2 billion in orders for January 2000. The three-month average of worldwide shipments in January 2001 was $2.3 billion, which was 2% lower than the December 2000 shipments of $2.4 billion, but 46% higher than the $1.6 billion shipments level of January 2000.