May book-to-bill slightly higher

JUNE 26--The ratio of semiconductor-capital-equipment bookings to shipments showed a miniscule improvement in May compared to April, but it's still not pretty out there. North American equipment suppliers posted $704 million in orders in May for a book-to-bill ratio of 0.46, according to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI; www.semi.org).

JUNE 26--The ratio of semiconductor-capital-equipment bookings to shipments showed a miniscule improvement in May compared to April, but it's still not pretty out there. North American equipment suppliers posted $704 million in orders in May for a book-to-bill ratio of 0.46, according to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI; www.semi.org). The revised figure for April was 0.44. Despite the apparent small improvement, both order bookings and shipments continue to decline.

The three-month average of worldwide bookings in May was $704 million, as well, 3% below the revised April level of $723 million and 75% below the $2.8 billion in orders posted in May of last year. The three-month average of worldwide shipments in May was $1.5 billion, 9% below the revised April level of $1.7 billion and 30% below the May 2000 shipments of $2.2 billion.

"It is likely that the prospects for sustained year-over-year improvements in monthly shipments are three to four quarters away. On a worldwide basis, we currently anticipate a 27% to 30% annual decline in the semiconductor equipment market in 2001," said Stan Myers, president and chief executive officer of SEMI.

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