LONDON -- The three-month average for global chip sales in May was $24.70 billion, an increase of 4.6 percent from the previous month, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), which reports numbers compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization. The jump in sales was the largest sequential monthly increase in sales since March 2010, the SIA said.
The averaged sales for May were ahead of analysts' expectations (see Global Chip Sales Buoyed by Phones, Memories). Bruce Diesen, an analyst with Carnegie Group, had predicted the three-month average figure for May would come in at $23.9 billion, which would still have represented strong sequential growth.
The increase was driven by a sharp uptick in activity in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions.
Global sales in May 2013 were up 1.3 percent compared with the same month a year before and year-to-date sales were 1.5 percent higher than they were at the same point in 2012. With a strong second half for the year forecast the flat-to-down full-year forecasts for chip market growth are looking hard to square with the latest data.
Monthly data is given by the SIA as a three-month average, although the source of the data, WSTS, tracks actual monthly data. The SIA and other regional semiconductor industry bodies opt to use averaged data because it smoothes out the actual data that typically show troughs at the beginnings of the quarters and peaks at the ends of the quarters.
Compared to May 2012, sales in May 2013 increased in Asia Pacific by 5.8 percent, in the Americas region by 3.0 percent, and in Europe by 0.1 percent. The exception to the strong growth was Japan where sales were $2.75 billion, down 18.4 percent from a year before (see table below). The steep Japanese fall was largely due to the devaluation of the Japanese yen.
Click on image to enlarge.
April 2013 three-month average sales (in dollar-billions) compared on a yearly, monthly, and previous-quarter basis.
(Source: SIA and WSTS)
"May was an unambiguously strong month for the global semiconductor industry, with growth across all regions and particularly encouraging increases in the Americas and Asia Pacific," said Brian Toohey, CEO of the SIA, in a statement. Global sales have stayed ahead of those 2012 throughout the year, he added.