SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The WSTS cut its IC forecast. SEMI said that fab spending is projected to fall in 2008. And memory prices are down.
But fabs keep humming along amid the lull. Worldwide fab-capacity utilization hit 89.7 percent in the first quarter of 2008, with leading-edge processes hovering around the 96.7 percent range, according to the Semiconductor International Capacity Statistics (SICAS) organization.
Worldwide fab-capacity is down from 89.9 percent in the previous quarter and up from 87.2 percent from a year ago, according to SICAS (Vessem, the The Netherlands). The group bases its statistics on data supplied by merchant IC manufacturers that together represent the majority of the world's IC production.
The change occurred as a result of wafer starts slowing by 1.4 percent sequentially. Year-over-year growth was 17.7 percent.
Overall manufacturing capacity increased sequentially by 1.6 percent to 2.359 million wafer starts per week. Year-over-year growth was 14.4 percent.
In the foundry area, the trend was even more pronounced with manufacturing capacity utilization reaching 93.7 percent in the first quarter, compared to 93.8 percent in the previous period. In the like period a year ago, foundry utilization was a mere 78.6 percent.
Foundry wafer starts fell by 4.7 percent sequentially to 297,800 wafer starts per week. Year-over-year, wafer starts jumped 14.1 percent.
In 300-mm, utilization hit 95.7 percent compared with 98 percent in the prior quarter and 91.1 a year ago.
For leading-edge process of below 0.08-micron, manufacturing capacity hit 96.7 percent in Q1, compared to 95.4 in the previous quarter.