The Association Connecting Electronics Industries, or IPC, recently released the findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.
Following is a summary:
- Rigid PCB shipments were down 0.1 percent in August 2012 from August 2011, and bookings increased 1.3 percent year over year. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments decreased 4.7 percent and bookings increased 1.1 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments were up 7.2 percent and rigid bookings increased 14.1 percent.
- Flexible circuit shipments in August 2012 were up 1.7 percent, and bookings were down 14.7 percent compared to August 2011. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments decreased 3.4 percent and bookings decreased 8.5 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments increased 0.3 percent and flex bookings were up 13.8 percent.
- For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments and bookings in August 2012 were both flat, with 0 percent growth compared to August 2011. Year to date, combined industry shipments were down 4.6 percent and bookings were up 0.2 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for August 2012 increased 6.6 percent and bookings increased 14.1 percent.
“Both rigid PCB and flexible circuit orders in August showed solid growth over the prior month, but weak flexible circuit orders over the past two months caused a decrease in the book-to-bill ratio,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “Flexible circuit orders tend to be volatile, however, and the August results should not be interpreted as a trend. Based on seasonal patterns, we expect to see a stronger performance in September.”
The book-to-bill ratio1 for the North American rigid PCB industry in August 2012 strengthened to 1.02. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio dropped sharply to 0.87, due to weak orders in July and August. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in August 2012 decreased slightly to parity at 1.00.
The complete August North American Printed Circuit Board Report is available online.
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.