SAN JOSE, Calif. - Despite a lull in the market, VLSI Research Inc. has raised its chip and fab tool forecasts for 2010.
There appears to be a sudden slowdown in the cell-phone, LCD, LED, PC and other product segments-a trend that impacts chip makers. And chip inventories are on the rise.
Still, VLSI raised its IC forecast to 33.7 percent in 2010, compared to 30 percent in the previous update, ''due to stronger-than-expected monthly sales data for June and July.'' Equipment sales are now expected to grow 103 percent, compared to its previous estimate of 96 percent, according to the firm.
''IC unit growth remained largely unchanged at 33 percent for 2010,'' according to the firm. ''At a mere 0.3 percent, IC ASPs are expected to increase well below the growth rate recorded in other strong upturns like the ones in 2000 and 2004.''
The fab tool market is in a multi-year cycle, with growth extending into 2011. ''A growth of 2010’s magnitude has historically been followed by a downturn. However, this year’s growth is coming off a very low base; even with a 103 percent increase total equipment sales will still be 14 percent lower than the 2007 peak,'' according to the firm.
The next downturn for equipment suppliers will come in 2012, the firm contends. ''Also, three out of the last four cycles have run two-year’s up and two-year’s down, hence our forecast that the next downturn will likely extend into 2013. Then there’s another boom in 2014,'' according to the firm.