SAN JOSE -- Could it be a hint of recovery? Na, instead it looks like a blip on the radar.
The book-to-bill for North American-based suppliers of chip production systems nudged up slightly to a reading of 0.46 in May, from a revised 0.44 level in April, said the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) trade group today.
SEMI's book-to-bill of 0.46 is based on a three-month average of worldwide bookings that total $704 million for May--a decline of 3% from $723 million in April and a 75% drop from $2.78 billion in May 2000.
The 0.46 index is also based on worldwide equipment shipments of $1.52 billion in May--which is 9% below $1.66 billion in April and 30% lower than $2.16 billion in May 2000, said SEMI today.
A book-to-bill reading of 0.46 means that equipment suppliers were receiving $46 in new orders for every $100 of products shipped to chip makers worldwide.
"While the book-to-bill ratio is slightly elevated from the prior month, both shipments and orders continued to decline," observed Stanley T. Myers, president and chief executive officer of SEMI in San Jose. "It is likely that the prospects for sustained year-over-year improvements in monthly shipments are three to four quarters away.
"On a worldwide basis, we currently anticipate a 30-to-32% annual decline in the semiconductor equipment market in 2001," he added. "While this severe drop presents a painful environment for SEMI member companies, this would still result in the second best revenue year in the history of our industry," Myers said.
Last month, SEMI revised its official 2001 forecast to show a 27% drop in total semiconductor equipment revenues to about $35 billion from $47.7 billion in 2000 (see May 23 story). But now it appears SEMI is expecting worldwide semiconductor equipment sales to drop to a range of $33-32 billion in 2001.