SAN JOSE -- With integrated circuit makers trying to accelerate investments in factories worldwide, North American-based suppliers of chip-production systems reported a book-to-bill ratio of 1.26 for June, according to the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) trade group here.
The latest sales and bookings figures from SEMI show shipments and orders for semiconductor tools still rising, albeit at slower growth rates than in previous months. The growth slowdown is mostly due to part shortages for equipment and the need for new factory shells to be built, according to some capital equipment executives, who doubt that the chip industry will be able to add too much capacity this year because of bottlenecks in the supply chain (see July 14 story).
"While the pace is moderating, orders of semiconductor manufacturing equipment continued an upward trend in June," said Stanley Myers, president and chief executive officer of SEMI. "Enthusiasm for a banner growth year was evident last week at the Semicon West exposition in San Francisco and San Jose, where the industry saw robust activity and strong sentiment for continued expansion in the chip industry."
During the Semicon West trade show, SEMI released its upwardly revised mid-year forecast for semiconductor capital equipment growth, showing worldwide sales increasing 36.7% to $34.8 billion in 2000 from $25.5 billion in 1999. Asia is expected be the hottest growth market for semiconductor equipment during the current business cycle until 2002 (see breakdown of forecast in July 20 story).
SEMI's June book-to-bill ratio of 1.26 was slightly lower than a revised 1.28 reading for May. The ratio was at a highpoint in the current recovery cycle in March, at 1.46. A ratio of 1.26 in June shows $126 worth of equipment being ordered for every $100 of products being shipped.
For June, SEMI's three-month average for worldwide shipments of tools by North American suppliers was at $2.226 billion, an increase of 3% from $2,155 billion in May. June's billings were 73% higher than $1.288 billion in the same month last year.
The three-month average for bookings in June was $2.796 billion, just slightly above $2.767 billion in May, said SEMI. The June orders total was 79% higher than $1.560 billion posted in June 1999, said the San Jose-based trade group.