December circuit shipments rose 13% over 2009
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in December 2010 increased 13.3% from December 2009, as orders booked increased 2.9% from December 2009, according to IPC.
IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries (Bannockburn, IL, USA) has announced the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.
PCB Industry Growth Rates and Book-to-Bill Ratios Announced
Rigid PCB shipments were up 10.6% and bookings decreased 0.8% in December 2010 from December 2009. Year-to-date, rigid PCB shipments were up 17.8% and bookings have grown 20.9%. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 14.1% and rigid bookings increased 15.5%. The book-to-bill ratio (B:B) for the North American rigid PCB industry in December 2010 remained at 0.96.
Flexible circuit shipments in December 2010 were up 50.9% and bookings grew 65.3% compared toDecember 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 16.0% and bookings were up 22.3%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments increased 13.3% and flex bookings increased 30.9%. The North American flexible circuit B:B in December 2010 climbed back to 0.97.
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in December 2010 increased 13.3% from December 2009, as orders booked increased 2.9% from December 2009. Year-to-date, combined industry shipments were up 17.7% and bookings were up 21.0%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for December 2010 increased 14.1% and bookings increased 16.7%. The combined (rigid and flex) industry B:B in December 2010 held steady at 0.96.
“December was a good month for the North AmericanPCB industry, with sales growth rates in the double digits,” says IPC president and CEO Denny McGuirk. “Orders are slowing in the rigid PCB sector, but flex orders and sales are both up significantly. The industry ended the year with sales up 17.7% over 2009,” he adds.
The B:Bs 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% of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC’s World PCB Production Report.
The Role of Domestic Production
IPC’s monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from US and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure US and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percentage of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In December 2010, 82% of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 82% of rigid PCB and 81% of flexible circuit shipments in December 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 December, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC’s survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for about 46% 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 B:B 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 B:B.
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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