As Q1 ends, the prospect emerges of 2017 being one of the great semi years like 1984 and 2000.

As always, it’s the memory guys who drive the boom and bust.

Micron had y-o-y February growth of 56%.

Samsung is forecasting 48% Q1 growth based on the soaring price of memory.

Toshiba’s chip business, mostly memory, is said to have attracted a bid of $30 billion and two of around $20 billion.

All of a sudden the memory industry seems to be embarked on one of its rollercoaster upswings.

And the rest of the industry is following in its wake.

The SOX is up 10% on the year after 37% growth in 2016.

The SIA reported y-o-y February growth of 16.5%.

IC Insights doubled its forecast for the year to 11%.

To pour a little rain on this parade it must be said that the SOX performance probably owes more to M&A than to companies’ financial performance and the memory sales growth figures probably owe more to constrained supply and consequent rising prices than expanding markets.

But there are expanding markets – auto, medical, data centre and mobile – although no sign of a much-needed new killer app.



  1. Thanks very much indeed fot that, Mike, very good news all round. If it turns out as good as expected it will seem like the old days.

  2. Hi David – I thought I would throw my hat into the ring regarding the latest Cowan LRA Model’s sales growth forecast for 2017. My just updated 2017 sales growth forecast gleaned from running the forecast model has risen to 17.5 percent – up from last month’s forecast expectation of 14.7%. Thus the model’s forecasted global semiconductors sales came in at $398.371 billion indicating very strong sales for the industry this year. Actual YTD (Year-to-Date) sales for 2017 (through February) came in at $59.135 billion thereby running way ahead of the same period for 2016 YTD sales by 15.8 percent. Obviously good news for the semiconductor industry based upon the recent history in yearly sales growth results and consistent with the theme of your article.
    Mike Cowan (independent semiconductor market watcher and developer of the Cowan LRA Model for forecasting global semiconductor sales)

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