IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries (Bannockburn, IL, USA)--said that in June rigid PCB shipments were up 25.3 percent while bookings increased 29.3 percent in June 2010 from June 2009. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 19.3 percent and bookings have grown 35.0 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 13.7 percent and rigid bookings increased 9.7 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in June 2010 stood at 1.12.
Flexible circuit shipments in June 2010 were up 14.8 percent, and bookings were up 11.0 percent compared to June 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 0.6 percent and bookings were up 15.5 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments went up 28.1 percent and flex bookings declined 2.7 percent. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in June 2010 remained high at 1.15.
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in June 2010 increased 24.4 percent from June 2009, as orders booked increased 27.8 percent from June 2009. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 17.6 percent and bookings were up 33.4 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for June 2010 increased 14.8 percent and bookings went up 8.6 percent. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in June 2010 was 1.12.
“The book-to-bill ratios for both rigid PCBs and flexible circuits remain well above parity, which suggests a positive outlook for the remainder of the year,” said IPC President & CEO Denny McGuirk. “Sales growth is stabilizing, but year-on-year growth in both segments is continuing in double digits,” he added.
The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next two to three months.
Book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid PCB segment. Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 89 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC’s World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report.
The Role of Domestic Production
IPC’s monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In June 2010, 83 percent of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production also accounted for 83 percent of rigid PCB and 81 percent of flexible circuit shipments in June by IPC’s survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC’s survey sample, which changed slightly in January, but are kept constant through the remainder of the year.
Bare Circuits versus Assembly
Flexible circuit sales typically include value-added services such as assembly, in addition to the bare flex circuits. In June, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC’s survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for about 77 percent of their shipment value reported for the month. Assembly and other services make up a large and growing segment of flexible circuit producers’ businesses. This figure is also sensitive to changes in the survey sample, which may occur at the beginning of each calendar year.
Interpreting the Data
Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they may reflect cyclical effects. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month may not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.
The information in IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics is based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid and flexible PCB manufacturers in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio and the PCB Statistical Program Report each month. Statistics for the previous month are not available until the last week of the following month.
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