SEMI: Chip equipment slump extending into 2013, across-the-board rebound in 2014
By James Montgomery
December 6, 2012 - Semiconductor equipment demand is persistently sluggish as the industry takes a break from a "multiyear expansion period" to digest recent investments and wrestle with a broader economic slowdown. But make no mistake: leading-edge technology investments are still happening, and growth will return in the typical cyclical pattern, predicts SEMI in its updated year-end forecast, issued this week at SEMICON Japan.
Sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment overall is now seen declining -12.2% in 2012 to $38.22B, after a 9% increase in 2011 to $43.53B and a 151% spike in 2010 to $39.92B, according to SEMI's updated numbers. SEMI's midyear forecast released at SEMICON West called for a -2.6% in overall equipment sales to $42.38B, followed by a 10.2% growth rebound in 2013. A significant downgrade had been expected, as after a strong early part of the year monthly data trends in semiconductor equipment demand have continued to turn sour.
"Sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment in 2012 reflect significant investments over the prior two years, normal patterns of industry cyclicality and a slowdown in the broader economy," stated SEMI president/CEO Denny McGuirk. "What's more important is that technology investments at the advanced nodes and in leading-edge packaging remain important drivers, and when market confidence returns, we expect capacity investments to increase."
At a more recent SEMI webinar SEMI forecast for fab spending is now -16% for 2012 and 0% for 2013. They argued that because of higher revenue expectation for 2013 the fab spending growth rate may climb to positive digits.