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IPC releases PCB industry results for March 2009.

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April 29, 2009 - According to IPC's North American PCB Statistical Program findings, rigid PCB shipments are down 30.5% and bookings are down 39.8% in March 2009 from March 2008. Compared to previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 9.6% and rigid bookings increased 10.5%. Flexible circuit shipments in March 2009 are up 1.0%, and bookings are down 12.0% compared to March 2008. Compared to February 2009, flexible circuit shipments are up 22.3% and flex bookings are up 15.0%.

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for March 2009


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



Press release date: April 27, 2009

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, April 27, 2009 - IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the March 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 30.5 percent and bookings are down 39.8 percent in March 2009 from March 2008. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments are down 24.6 percent and bookings are down 35.6 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 9.6 percent and rigid bookings increased 10.5 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in March 2009 remained below parity but moved up slightly to 0.92.

Flexible circuit shipments in March 2009 are up 1.0 percent, and bookings are down 12.0 percent compared to March 2008. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments are up 6.0 percent and bookings are down 7.4 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments are up 22.3 percent and flex bookings are up 15.0 percent. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in March 2009 dropped to 0.87.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in March 2009 decreased 28.3 percent from March 2008 and orders booked decreased 38.0 percent from March 2008. Year to date, combined industry shipments are down 22.7 percent and bookings are down 34.0 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for March 2009 are up 10.7 percent and bookings are up 10.9 percent. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in March 2009 was 0.91.

"Sales and orders improved in March over the first two months of the year due to seasonal effects, but year-on-year growth in rigid PCBs is still down significantly," said IPC President Denny McGuirk. "Orders are still lagging behind sales, which suggests that sales will continue to weaken for the next quarter."

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.

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 March 2009, 89 percent of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 89 percent of rigid PCB and 84 percent of flexible circuit shipments in March by IPC survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC's survey sample, which may change slightly in January, but are kept constant through the calendar year.

Bare Circuits versus Assembly
Flexible circuit sales typically include value-added services such as assembly, in addition to the bare flex circuits. In March, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC's survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for approximately 78 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 (www.IPC.org) 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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