Chip sales boom in November

Global sales of semiconductors powered ahead in November, accelerating for the fourth straight month to grow to $16.1 billion--a 25.7 percent increase compared with a year earlier, an industry group said on Monday.

"2003's second-half performance is one of the strongest on record for (the chip) industry," said George Scalise, president of the North American Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), using data from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) group. Demand was strong in most product areas. Chips for cars and cell phones sold especially well ahead of the Christmas and Chinese New Year holiday selling season. Sales of memory chips also showed growth above the normal seasonal increase, driven by strength in the personal computer market as well as in the market for portable music players and digital cameras.

The 26 percent year-on-year growth, in line with expectations from most analysts, is up from around 10 percent in June and July. Sales began to accelerate after those months. Sales were also up from October, rising 4.5 percent. The sales data is a three-month-rolling average, which softens the impact of sudden bursts of trading activity at the end of corporate calendar periods. The SIA now expects chip revenue in 2003 to rise by more than the 15.8 percent it had forecast a few months ago. That estimate was already an upgrade of an earlier target. Investment bank J.P. Morgan reiterated its 2003 chip sales forecast of $166.4 billion, up 18 percent over 2002.

Early this summer most analysts still expected sales growth in 2003 to be a modest 10 percent, as the industry's recovery from its worst downturn in 2001 and early 2002 was slowed down by the war in Iraq and the outbreak of the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus in Asia.

News source: C|net

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