LONDON Actual global sales of semiconductors was $20.79 billion in February, down 4.9 percent from the actual sales in January of $21.85 billion, according to figures from World Semiconductor Trade Statistics.
As February sales are normally flat-to-up compared with the previous month, this represents a weak result. In the previous ten years February chip sales have been between 6.5 percent lower to 14.2 percent higher than January sales, according to WSTS. Over the decade the average is that February sales rise 3.1 percent from January, so a decline of 4.9 percent represents an unusually poor result.
Nonetheless actual sales were up 54.6 percent compared with sales in February 2009 when the market was in the midst of a sales collapse.
Bruce Diesen, an analyst with Carnegie Group (Oslo, Norway), put the February market fall down to PC chip sales.
"Due to a worldwide restocking of computers and handsets in December, a similar restocking move occurred in chips in January, and February returned to normal levels, and still up seasonally adjusted versus Q4 levels. Handset chips were steady versus January and stronger than we expected, driven by an improvement in handset mix. PC chips were the soft spot in February, led by computer logic," he said in a note.
Diesen also cited NAND flash memory as used in MP3 players, handsets and digital cameras arguing that handset makers may have overstocked in Q4 thereby suppressing sales and prices in February.
Although microprocessors and chipsets for PCs fell, partly due to the date of the Chinese new year, DRAM sales fared better probably because PC's using the Windows 7 operating system have more memory installed.
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