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PCB | March 26, 2010

North-American PCB market improves Y-o-Y

Rigid PCB shipments were up 9.4% while bookings increased 36.4% in February 2010 from February 2009. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 3.6% and bookings have grown 27.9%.
Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 4.7% and rigid bookings increased 8.1%. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in February 2010 grew to 1.09.


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Flexible circuit shipments in February 2010 were down 2.1%, but bookings were down 37.4% compared to February 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments were down 3.1% and bookings were down 0.4%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments went up 4.9% and flex bookings fell by 36.4%. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio fell below parity to 0.92.


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For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in February 2010 increased 8.5% from February 2009, as orders booked increased 29.1% from February 2009. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 3.0% and bookings were up 25.6%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for February 2010 increased 4.8% and bookings went up 4.5%. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in February 2010 increased to 1.07.

“Rigid PCB bookings have outpaced shipments for the past 11 months. That’s reflected in the high rigid PCB book-to-bill ratio and it’s an encouraging indicator of future growth,” said IPC President & CEO Denny McGuirk. “We saw a big drop in flexible circuit orders in February, but no sign of a trend yet, due to the volatility of flex orders and sales.”

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next 2 - 3 months.

Book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid PCB segment. Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 90% of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC’s World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report.


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The Role of Domestic Production
In February 2010, 83% of total PCB shipments reported were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 85% of rigid PCB and 68% of flexible circuit shipments in February by IPC’s survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC’s survey sample, which changed slightly in January, but will remain constant through the remainder of the year.

Bare Circuits Versus Assembly
In February, the flexible circuit manufacturers in IPC’s survey sample indicated that bare circuits accounted for about 56% of their shipment value reported for the month. Assembly and other services make up a large and growing segment of flexible circuit producers’ businesses. This figure is also sensitive to changes in the survey sample, which may occur at the beginning of each calendar year.

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