Production equipment demand falls to 18-month low

Production equipment demand falls to 18-month low
Tom Foremski
Demand for chip making equipment continues to decline as major semiconductor companies cancel or postpone orders.
According to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), its latest book-to-bill ratio for March fell to 0.80, an 18-month record low. The figure is one per cent below February but SEMI points out it is still 27 per cent above the March 1997 level. Three-month average bookings decreased in March to $1.1 billion. The bookings figure is 12 per cent below the February 1998 level, and eight per cent below the March 1997 level.
“SEMI’s March data indicates the continued downward trend of worldwide equipment orders, with total orders for March down by essentially the same amount as from January to February,” said Dick Greene, principal analyst with SEMI.
The organisation predicts that orders will be down by 12 percent this year as Asian chip makers postpone orders and as US chip companies such as Intel scale back capital spending plans.

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