A newly released report from the Association Connecting Electronic Industries, or IPC, showed rigid and flexible printed circuit board shipments up slightly month over month, but down year over year.
Following are the specifics:
Rigid PCB shipments were down 13.1 percent and bookings were down 19.9 percent in September 2011 from September 2010. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments decreased 0.4 percent and bookings declined 10.8 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 3.5 percent and rigid bookings decreased 8.9 percent.
Flexible circuit shipments in September 2011 were down 0.7 percent and bookings declined 1.8 percent compared to September 2010. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 1.6 percent and bookings increased 3.0 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments increased 20.1 percent and flex bookings were up 9.9 percent.
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in September 2011 decreased 12.0 percent from September 2010, as orders booked decreased 18.4 percent from September 2010. Year to date, combined industry shipments were down 0.2 percent and bookings were down 9.6 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for September 2011 increased 4.9 percent and bookings decreased 7.3 percent.
The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in September 2011 dipped just below parity at 0.99, while the flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio fell to 0.97. The combined ratio—which entails both rigid and flexible—declined to 0.99. 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.*
“Sales and orders were both under last year’s levels in September,” said Denny McGuirk, IPC president and CEO. “Bookings have been especially sluggish, and that has caused a drop in the book-to-bill ratio… although it is still very near parity, which suggests that flat sales is the likely near-term scenario.”
*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.