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IPC releases PCB industry results for January 2009.

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March 4, 2009 - According to IPC's monthly North American PCB Statistical Program, rigid PCB shipments are down 18.9% and bookings are down 30.7% in January 2009 from January 2008. Book-to-bill ratio for North American rigid PCB industry in January 2009 slipped further to 0.88. Flexible circuit shipments in January 2009 were up 16.6%, while bookings were down 1.8% compared to January 2008, and North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio declined to 0.98.

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results For January 2009

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IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries
3000 Lakeside Drive
Bannockburn, IL, 60015

Press release date: February 27, 2009

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, February 27, 2009 - IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the January findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

PCB Industry Growth Rates and Book-to-Bill Ratios Announced

Rigid PCB shipments are down 18.9 percent and bookings are down 30.7 percent in January 2009 from January 2008. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in January 2009 slipped further to 0.88.

Flexible circuit shipments in January 2009 were up 16.6 percent and bookings were down 1.8 percent compared to January 2008. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio declined to 0.98.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in January 2009 decreased 17.0 percent from January 2008, and orders booked decreased 29.3 percent from January 2008. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in January 2009 fell to 0.89.

"Sales and orders of rigid PCBs declined sharply in January compared to January 2008, but flexible circuit sales were surprisingly strong," said IPC President Denny McGuirk. "Orders in both segments of the industry were down compared to last year, and this is reflected in the continuing downward trend of the book-to-bill ratio," he added. "The industry has not hit the bottom yet, but we will continue to watch the leading indicators, such as our book-to-bill ratio, for signs of an upturn," McGuirk concluded.

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 PCB segment. Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 90 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC's World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report. Every January, IPC opens its monthly statistical programs to new participants, resulting in a slight change in the survey sample. Therefore, January's month-to-month growth rates are not available. Reporting of month-to-month and year-to-date growth rates will resume next month.

The Role of Domestic Production
IPC's monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, however, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In January 2009, 90 percent of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 90 percent of rigid PCB and 91 percent of flexible circuit shipments in January by IPC's survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC's survey sample, which changed slightly in January but will remain constant through the remainder of the year.

Bare Circuits Versus Assembly
Flexible circuit sales typically include value-added services such as assembly, in addition to the bare flex circuits. In January, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC's survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for about 71 percent of their shipment value reported for the month. Assembly and other services make up a large and growing segment of flexible circuit producers' businesses. This figure is also sensitive to changes in the survey sample, which may occur at the beginning of each calendar year.

Interpreting the Data
Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they may reflect cyclical effects. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month may not be significant unless a trend of three consecutive months or more is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

The information in IPC's monthly PCB industry statistics is based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid and flexible PCB manufacturers in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio and the PCB Statistical Program Report each month. Statistics for the previous month are not available until the last week of the following month.

About IPC
IPC ( is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.7 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Garden Grove, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; and Shanghai and Shenzhen, China.
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