JULY 26--The North American book-to-bill ratio for June was 0.54, according to the June 2001 Express Report published by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI; San Jose, CA; www.semi.org). This is the second consecutive month the figure has increased from May's revised ratio of 0.48, after 13 months of sequential declines.
North American-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $705 million in orders in June. A book-to-bill of 0.54 means that $54 worth of new orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.
"While the book-to-bill ratio improved slightly in June, total shipments and orders continued to decline," said Elizabeth Schumann, director of industry research and statistics for SEMI. "Some specific equipment categories are showing modest improvement, which could be an indication that the industry is nearing the trough of the orders cycle. Based on comments regarding the lack of forward visibility made by participants last week at SEMICON West, however, we hesitate to declare a reversal in order trends just yet."
The three-month average of worldwide bookings remained relatively flat in June, at $704.7 million. This is 1% below the revised May level of $714 million and 75% below the $2.86 billion in orders posted in June 2000.
"Order stabilization is more evident for front-end equipment," said Shekhar Pramanick, senior analyst with Prudential Securities Inc. "Front-end orders for June were $622.8 million, a slight improvement over May orders of $613.2 million. This marks the second consecutive month of front-end order improvement. While the magnitude is not significant, we believe the stabilization is encouraging."
The three-month average of worldwide shipments in June was $1.31 billion. The shipments figure is 12% below the revised May level of $1.49 billion and 42% below the June 2000 shipments level of $2.26 billion.
The SEMI book-to-bill is a ratio of three-month moving average bookings to three-month moving average shipments for the North American semiconductor equipment industry.