IPC: November PCB industry B:B dips to 0.94

DECEMBER 31, 2008--IPC (Bannockburn, IL, USA; www.ipc.org) has released the November findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

DECEMBER 31, 2008--IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries (Bannockburn, IL, USA; www.ipc.org) has released the November findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

Rigid PCB shipments are down 5.8% and bookings are down 17.3% in November 2008 from November 2007. Year-to-date, rigid PCB shipments are up 2.4% and bookings are down 3.8%. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments decreased 0.2% and rigid bookings decreased 5.8%. The book-to-bill (B:B) ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in November 2008 slipped slightly to 0.94.

Flexible circuit shipments in November 2008 are down 22.6% and bookings are down 36.8% compared to November 2007. Year-to-date, flexible circuit shipments are up 5.8% and bookings are down 5.5%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments are down 25.2% and flex bookings decreased 45.4%. The North American flexible circuit B:B ratio in November 2008 increased to 1.04.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in November 2008 decreased 7.0% from November 2007 and orders booked decreased 18.8% from November 2007. Year-to-date, combined industry shipments are up 2.6% and bookings are down 3.9%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for November 2008 are down 2.3% and bookings are down 9.5%. The combined (rigid and flex) industry B:B ratio in November 2008 dipped to 0.94.

"PCB orders and shipments continued to decline in November, with flexible circuits being especially hard hit," says IPC President Denny McGuirk. "The flex segment is always more volatile, however, and the current month's poor performance followed an unusually strong October," he adds. "Overall, the industry's sales are slowing as the recession deepens. We expect total industry sales to end the year at about the same level as 2007."

In November 2008, 86% of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 86% of rigid PCB and 91% of flexible circuit shipments in November by IPC survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC's survey sample, which may change slightly in January, but are kept constant through the calendar year.

Flexible circuit sales typically include value-added services such as assembly, in addition to the bare flex circuits. In November, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC's survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for approximately 70% 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.

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