Global chips sales up

Worldwide sales of semiconductors bloomed in May, rising to $17.32 billion, a sequential increase of 2.1% from the $16.97 billion reported in April and a 36.9% increase from May 2003.

Worldwide sales of semiconductors bloomed in May, rising to $17.32 billion, a sequential increase of 2.1% from the $16.97 billion reported in April and a 36.9% increase from May 2003, according to the US-based Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The SIA said the increase is normal for May, which is traditionally one of the stronger months for semiconductor sales.

“Worldwide sales of microchips followed historical patterns in May, normally a strong month for the industry,” said SIA President George Scalise. “At $17.32 billion, global semiconductor sales reached their highest level since December of 2000, reflecting continued healthy economic growth, especially in the United States and China. The industry fundamentals continue to look good, leading us to expect strong growth through the remainder of 2004. Customers appear to be managing inventories prudently even in the face of supply-demand constraints.”

The SIA noted that overall factory utilisation continued to increase, rising from 92% in the fourth quarter of 2003 to 94% in the first quarter of 2004. For leading-edge manufacturers (defined as facilities capable of producing geometries of 0.16-micron and smaller), capacity utilisation rates are currently at 99 percent.

While most product segments continued to reflect seasonal strength, demand for microchips used in wireless communications – digital signal processors (DSPs), optoelectronics devices, and application-specific standard products (ASSPs) – was especially strong, reflecting robust sales of cellular phones with enhanced display, imaging, and data capabilities.

Semiconductor sales were up in all regions except Europe, with the strongest growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region, which rose by 4.5%.

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