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© AT&S PCB | March 22, 2010

German PCB market surprisingly well in December 2009

In December, PCB manufacturers experienced an increase in turnover—10% compared to the previous month—reports the German industry association ZVEI (PCB and Electronic Systems).
This came as a surprise to the industry, because the December month usually shows the lowest sales figures of the year. Due to accounting reasons, inventory and stock are usually kept low in December and only necessary supplies (short-term supplies) are usually accepted.

However, this development was unable to affect the overall figures for 2009 significantly. Compared to 2008, turnover decreased by 30%.

The order intake was extremely high in December and reached order volumes of normal years. With this, figures corresponded to the 10 year average, the report continues. Although order intake was 16% lower that in November 2009; compared to December 2008, the figures is 120% higher.

The reason for this surprisingly high order intake—the experts of the industry association predict—is the fact that customers have clear their inventory significantly, which in turn has lead to supply bottlenecks along the value chain.

Despite this year-end rally, 2009 is the weakest of the past decade. Compared to 2000—the peak year of the decade—the order intake was 50% and turnover was 40% lower.


This graph has a zoom function.

The book-to-bill ratio peaked at 1.36 (due to the increased order intake). This December figure has never been as high since the association started the survey. A similarly high figure was recorded 38 months ago, the ZVEI report states.

Despite the upswing in December, staff numbers declined further (one company had to lay off all employees due to insolvency). Since April 2001, around 40% of all jobs have disappeared within the industry—some through the production transfer to Asia, others through the reduction in staff levels and still others through facility closures, the report concludes.

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