September's electronic component orders posted their highest monthly gain so far this year, according to the Electronic Components, Assemblies & Materials Association (ECA), a welcome sign for suppliers in the hard hit sector.
"Most manufacturers are seeing a continued increase in sales activity," said Bob Willis, ECA president. "If pricing pressures also continue to ease, profits will again be part of the electronic component suppliers' lexicon."
The demand increase, which was compared to September 2002, was attributed to stronger sales of notebook computers and mobile phones. Rising demand for electronic components usually trails semiconductor industry growth by six months or so, but a more efficient supply chain is decreasing the lag time, according to the ECA
"Manufacturers, distributors, and manufacturers' reps are all indicating increased levels of activity, which is now being reflected in the ECA index," said Glyndwr Smith, immediate past chair of the ECA board of directors and Vishay Intertechnology's executive vice president for marketing intelligence. "This, coupled with inventories at the lowest level and available capacities slowly being utilized, should bring some stability and maturity to the past downward pressures on component average selling prices."