PCB Industry Results for December 2012 Released by IPC

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2013-02-01 23:36:49
PCB Industry Results for December 2012 Released by IPC
Friday, February 01, 2013 | IPC

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

Rigid PCB shipments were down 16.1% in December 2012 from December 2011, and bookings decreased 8.8% year over year. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments declined 5.5% and bookings decreased 1.7%. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments were up 7.1% and rigid bookings increased 19%. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in December 2012 recovered to 0.99.

Flexible circuit shipments in December 2012 were up 6.7%, and bookings were up 9.4% compared to December 2011. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments decreased 1.5% and bookings decreased 10%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments decreased 7.4%, but flex bookings were up 20.2%. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio improved to 0.84.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in December 2012 were down 14.5%and bookings decreased 7.5%, compared to December 2011. Year to date, combined industry shipments were down 5.2% and bookings were down 2.4%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for December 2012 increased 5.7% and bookings increased 19.1%. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in December 2012 rose to 0.98.

“North American PCB book-to-bill ratios appear to have begun recovering after a downward trend that began in the second quarter of 2012,” according to Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “The industry’s sales ended 2012 at 5.2% below 2011.”

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 two to three 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 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC’s World PCB Production Report.

The Role of Domestic Production

IPC’s monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the U.S. or Canada). In December 2012, 82% of total PCB shipments reported by survey participants were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 82% of rigid PCB and 80 percent of flexible circuit shipments in December by IPC’s survey participants. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC’s survey sample, which change slightly in January, but are kept constant through the remainder of the year.