Rigid PCB shipments were up 10.6 percent and bookings decreased 0.8 percent in December 2010 from December 2009, according to the Association Connecting Electronic Industries, or IPC. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 17.8 percent and bookings have grown 20.9 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 14.1 percent and rigid bookings increased 15.5 percent.
Flexible circuit shipments in December 2010 were up 50.9 percent and bookings grew 65.3 percent compared to December 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 16 percent and bookings were up 22.3 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments increased 13.3 percent and flex bookings increased 30.9 percent.
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in December 2010 increased 13.3 percent from December 2009, as orders booked increased 2.9 percent from December 2009. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 17.7 percent and bookings were up 21 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for December 2010 increased 14.1 percent and bookings increased 16.7 percent. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in December 2010 held steady at 0.96.
“December was a good month for the North American PCB industry, with sales growth rates in the double digits,” said IPC President & CEO Denny McGuirk. “Orders are slowing in the rigid PCB sector, but flex orders and sales are both up significantly.”
The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in December 2010 remained at 0.96, while the flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in December 2010 climbed back to 0.97. As a general rule of thumb, 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.
Looking at the big picture, the North American printed circuit board industry ended the year with sales up 17.7 percent over 2009.