IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for February 2010

Mar 27, 2010

Trends in the Book-to-Bill Ratio for Rigid PCBs.

Trends in the Book-to-Bill Ratio for Rigid PCBs.

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, - IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the February findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

PCB Industry Growth Rates and Book-to-Bill Ratios Announced

Rigid PCB shipments were up 9.4 percent while bookings increased 36.4 percent in February 2010 from February 2009. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 3.6 percent and bookings have grown 27.9 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 4.7 percent and rigid bookings increased 8.1 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in February 2010 grew to 1.09.

Flexible circuit shipments in February 2010 were down 2.1 percent, but bookings were down 37.4 percent compared to February 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments were down 3.1 percent and bookings were down 0.4 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments went up 4.9 percent and flex bookings fell by 36.4 percent. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio fell below parity to 0.92.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in February 2010 increased 8.5 percent from February 2009, as orders booked increased 29.1 percent from February 2009. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 3.0 percent and bookings were up 25.6 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for February 2010 increased 4.8 percent and bookings went up 4.5 percent. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in February 2010 increased to 1.07.

“Rigid PCB bookings have outpaced shipments for the past 11 months. That’s reflected in the high rigid PCB book-to-bill ratio and it’s an encouraging indicator of future growth,” said IPC President & CEO Denny McGuirk. “We saw a big drop in flexible circuit orders in February, but no sign of a trend yet, due to the volatility of flex orders and sales.”

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.

Book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid PCB segment. Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 90 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC’s World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report.

The Role of Domestic Production

IPC's monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In February 2010, 83 percent of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 85 percent of rigid PCB and 68 percent of flexible circuit shipments in February by IPC’s survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC’s survey sample, which changed slightly in January, but will remain constant through the remainder of the year.

Bare Circuits Versus Assembly

Flexible circuit sales typically include value-added services such as assembly, in addition to the bare flex circuits. In February, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC’s survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for about 56 percent of their shipment value reported for the month. Assembly and other services make up a large and growing segment of flexible circuit producers’ businesses. This figure is also sensitive to changes in the survey sample, which may occur at the beginning of each calendar year.

Interpreting the Data

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they may reflect cyclical effects. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month may not be significant unless a trend of three consecutive months or more is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

The information in IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics is based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid and flexible PCB manufacturers in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio and the PCB Statistical Program Report each month. Statistics for the previous month are not available until the last week of the following month.

About IPC

IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.7 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Garden Grove, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; and Shanghai and Shenzhen, China.

Upcoming IPC events:

WORKSHOPS: http://www.ipc.org/Workshops-brochure

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