SAN FRANCISCOThe global semiconductor equipment book-to-bill-ratio rose above parity in June for first time in 11 months, according to market research firm VLSI Research Inc., which added that business activity in the beleaguered sector is beginning to improve.
The worldwide chip equipment book-to-bill ratio hit 1.01 in June, the first time it had been above parity since July 2008, VLSI Research (Santa Clara, Calif.) said.
Worldwide equipment bookings amounted to $2.5 billion in June, up 40 percent from May, but down 41 percent compared to June 2008, according to VLSI Research. June's worldwide billings jumped 31 percent from May to $2.4 billion, but were still off 57 percent compared to the same period of last year, the firm said.
VLSI Research pointed to some positive trends will acknowledging that both bookings and billings remain well below normal levels. Back-end suppliers, in particular, are seeing a considerable pick up in business activity amid soaring utilization rates at back-end subcontractors, the firm said.
At the front-end, most of the equipment orders are still technology-related, driven primarily by the migration to the 3x and 4x nodes, VLSI Research said. DDR3 SDRAM memory is finally picking up and is beginning to drive some orders in the memory sector, which had been lifeless for months, the firm said.
Other analysts have also recently provided recent for optimism to capital equipment vendors. IC Insights Inc. recently projected relief for the semiconductor capital equipment industry, saying most of the chip vendors that the firm tracks are planning to spend the majority of their capital expenditure budgets for the year over the next six months.
A book-to-bill of 1.01 means that $101 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.