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Innovation

Global chip sales show recovery from Q1 rough patch

Global sales in semiconductor chips have risen slightly in May on the previous month, but year-on-year the recovery is still under way.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Global chip sales saw a modest increase in May from the previous month, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said on Tuesday. 

Worldwide sales reached $24.4 billion for the month of May, a 1.4 percent increase on April, which saw sales reach $24.1 billion. May marked the third consecutive month that sales have grown on the previous month --- the longest period seen since September 2010.

However, compared to May 2011, sales were down by 3.4 percent on sales of $25.2 billion and year-to-date sales were lower across all recorded regions than at this time last year.

The raw breakdown of figures --- based on a three-month moving average --- show semiconductor sales rocketed in the Asia-Pacific region by 10.5 percent, with Europe seeing the second-highest gain of 4.4 percent. Japan saw a 0.7 percent fall fall in chip sales in May.

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Overall, the figures are encouraging and show that the industry is getting back on track following a rough start to the year. 

The SIA is forecasting modest growth in global semiconductor chip sales for the rest of 2012 and are in line with industry projections. However, trouble in the euro zone has left European sales in difficulty year-on-year and a sluggish global economy continues to hold back the rate of worldwide growth.

The historical picture dating back to 1996 looks like this:

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It's clear to see the global financial crisis, which ran between mid-2007---late-2009, saw a near crash in the semiconductor sales. Recovery was swift and saw a massive boom in global chip sales, but this year saw its largest decline since the start of the U.S. recession.

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