Based on the market’s slow response to order growth this year, IPC has revised downward its 2013 PCB sales forecast.
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 3.4 percent in June 2013 from June 2012, and bookings decreased 6.1 percent year over year. Year to date, PCB industry shipments were down 4.7 percent and bookings were down 1.3 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments in June were up by 12.0 percent, but bookings were down 3.6 percent. Shipments outpaced bookings in June for the first time in seven months, causing the PCB book-to-bill ratio to slip to 1.05, which is still a positive result.Flexible circuit sales continued their year-on-year growth in June, but flex bookings growth remained below last year’s levels. Rigid PCB sales and order both underperformed last year’s levels, but the negative margin has been improving in recent months.“Until this June, monthly PCB orders outpaced sales every month since January, which has produced positive book-to-bill ratios for the past six months,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “A turnaround in sales growth this year still seems likely, but is not happening as quickly as the leading indicators suggested. Based on the market’s unusually slow response to order growth, and the industry slowdown worldwide, we are revising our outlook for 2013 North American PCB sales growth,” she explained. “We expect to see sales strengthening in the second half of this year, resulting in 2013 sales growth of less than 1 percent.”