December PCB/circuit shipments down 14.5%

FEBRUARY 2, 2009--IPC has released the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

Feb 2nd, 2009

FEBRUARY 2, 2009--IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries (Bannockburn, IL, USA; www.ipc.org) has released the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

Rigid PCB shipments are down 14.2% and bookings are down 24.5% in December 2008 from December 2007. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments are up 0.9% and bookings are down 5.5%. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments decreased 0.9% and rigid bookings decreased 4.6%. The book-to-bill (B:B) ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in December 2008 fell to 0.89.

Flexible circuit shipments in December 2008 are down 17.1%, but bookings are up 23.8% compared to December 2007. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments are up 3.4% and bookings are down 3.1%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments are up 23.7% and flex bookings nearly doubled, up 99.9%. The North American flexible circuit B:B in December 2008 jumped to 1.08.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in December 2008 decreased 14.5% from December 2007 and orders booked decreased 21.1% from December 2007. Year to date, combined industry shipments are up 1.1% and bookings are down 5.3%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for December 2008 are up 0.6% and bookings are up 1.3%. The combined (rigid and flex) industry B:B in December 2008 dipped to 0.90.

"Rigid PCB orders have trailed shipments for nine straight months now, and that is reflected in a declining book-to-bill rate," says IPC president Denny McGuirk. "Strong orders have been keeping the flexible circuit segment growing, but the whole industry's December sales were weaker than in prior years. However, the industry ended the year about 1% ahead of 2007," he concludes.

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 90% of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC's World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report.

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