Semiconductor sales are keeping pace with the industry's expectation of a
better showing in 2004.
Global chip sales in February 2004 rose 30.8 percent above the same month
last year, according to data released Friday by the Semiconductor Industry
Association. That's the largest year-over-year growth rate in the industry since
October 2000. Growth over January of this year was modest, at 0.2 percent, a
rate the SIA called consistent with normal cyclical patterns.
In January, chip sales were up 26.6
percent year-over-year. SIA expects the trend to continue through 2004. In
February, sales in the United States and Japan declined slightly, while all
other regions reported growth.
Shipments of programmable logic devices and standard cells grew in February
by 4.3 percent, spurred by a recovery in wireline markets. But microprocessor
sales dipped by 0.7 percent due to cyclical patterns of lower PC sales in that
month. The wireless and consumer-electronics segments, which led to double-digit
growth through the end of 2003, were flat to down in February, but SIA said
these sectors will rebound as the year progresses.
The trend is in line with a recent Gartner study that forecast a rise in
demand, especially in the wired sector. However, Gartner analysts said the
forecast was conservative because companies are still cautious on information
technology spending and consumer demand of electronics goods remains
"While growth was largely driven by a rebound in corporate information
technology spending, the current growth cycle extends to all end markets and
major product areas. We are encouraged by the recovery in demand in the wireline
communications sector," SIA President George Scalise, said in a statement.
"Customers remain cautious about inventories, and February shipments actually
trailed semiconductor consumption. As a result, we do not expect inventory
corrections will be a drag on chip sales going forward."