SAN FRANCISCO—Semiconductor fab spending is expected to decline in the first half of 2012, but sharply increase in the second half of the year to approach $10 billion by the fourth quarter, according to fab tool vendor trade group SEMI.
Overall, chip fab spending is expected to be about $35 billion in 2012, down about 11 percent from 2011, according to preliminary data from SEMI's World Fab Forecast Report.
Expected chip fab spending of $35 billion, while down from 2011, is still expected to be higher than 2010, SEMI said. The year is expected to join 2007 and 2011 as the three highest years of semiconductor fab spending on record, according to SEMI.
it is still higher than in 2010. The years 2007, 2011 and 2012 are expected to be the three highest years on record.
South Korea is the only region expected to show sequential growth in fab equipment spending in 2012, mainly due to expected spending by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., SEMI said.
The current forecast of about 11 percent decline in fab equipment spending for 2012 depends largely on the investment plans of the largest spenders, SEMI said. While some companies have published their plans for 2012, others—including Samsung, Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.—could announce higher investment plans than anticipated, so fab spending for 2012 could improve, SEMI said.