Printed circuit board shipments decline sharply during first four months of 2009

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., 27 May 2009. Shipments of North American rigid printed circuit boards over the first four months of 2009 were down 27.7 percent over the same period in 2008, while rigid circuit board bookings in the first four months of 2009 were down 33.7 percent over the same period last year, according to analysts at the IPC Association Connecting Electronics Industries in Bannockburn, Ill.

May 27th, 2009

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., 27 May 2009. Shipments of North American rigid printed circuit boards over the first four months of 2009 were down 27.7 percent over the same period in 2008, while rigid circuit board bookings in the first four months of 2009 were down 33.7 percent over the same period last year, according to analysts at the IPC Association Connecting Electronics Industries in Bannockburn, Ill.

This drop in the U.S. and Canadian rigid circuit board business translates into a decline of 37.1 percent in rigid circuit board shipments and a 26.9 percent drop in rigid circuit board bookings for commercial and military board products between April 2008 and April 2009, say analysts from IPC, the association representing the North American circuit board and electronic circuits packaging industry.

Rigid circuit boards, including computer board products, represent an estimated 90 percent of the current printed circuit board industry in North America.

From March to April 2009, rigid circuit board shipments dropped 22.6 percent, and bookings for these devices dropped 5.5 percent, IPC experts say. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid circuit board industry in April 2009 increased to 0.98 (see chart for trends).

Flexible circuit shipments in April 2009, meanwhile, are down 2.1 percent, and bookings are down 0.3 percent compared to April 2008. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments are up 3.9 percent and bookings are down 5.5 percent.

Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments declined 14.9 percent and flex bookings are down 1.5 percent. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in April 2009 improved to 0.94.

"While sales and orders continued to decline in April, there was a marked improvement in the book-to-bill ratio," says IPC President Denny McGuirk. "It is still slightly below parity, but increased in April for the third straight month. Rigid PCB orders have climbed above sales for the first time in over a year. I believe we're seeing the first signs of recovery."

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.

Book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid circuit board segment. , according to IPC's World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report.

For more information contact the IPC online at www.ipc.org.

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