LONDON – The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in October 2010 fell below parity to 0.98, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, a standards body for the electronics industry known as the IPC.
This was as a result of rigid PCB shipments decreasing 14.3 percent and rigid PCB bookings decreasing 21.1 percent compared with the previous month, the IPC (Bannockburn, Ill.) said. On an annual basis rigid PCB shipments rose 13.6 percent while bookings decreased 2.7 percent in October 2010. Meanwhile the year-to-date rigid PCB shipments were up 19.5 percent and bookings have grown 25.4 percent.
Flexible circuit shipments in October 2010 were up 14.7 percent and bookings grew 25.2 percent compared to October 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 11.0 percent and bookings were up 19.4 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments decreased 18.6 percent and flex bookings decreased 10.9 percent. As a result the North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in October 2010 climbed back to parity at 1.00.
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined in North America the industry book-to-bill ratio in October 2010 slipped just under parity at 0.99. The .industry shipments in October 2010 increased 13.7 percent from October 2009, as orders booked decreased 0.8 percent from October 2009. Year-to-date, combined industry shipments were up 18.8 percent and bookings were up 24.9 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for October 2010 decreased 14.7 percent and bookings decreased 20.3 percent.
"PCB sales have continued to grow and now are back to about where they were in October 2008, just before the downturn hit the industry in North America,” said IPC president and CEO, Denny McGuirk, in a statement. “The book-to-bill ratio has trended downward in the past five months as the growth in orders has slowed, signaling a plateau in the recovery,” he added.
The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next two to three months.
Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 89 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC.
I am pleasantly surprised that the BtoB ratio is this good, given the economy, jobless rates in NA, and the continued expansion of overseas manufacturing. I wonder how long this trend can hold? I would hate to see rigid PCB manufacturing disappear from NA as that would increase lead times for short production runs, prototyping runs and negatively impact market share and small company growth.
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