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Worldwide Semi Bookings on the Rise: Caution over jubilation is advised

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SEMI released it's monthly final numbers for February 2009 Book-to-Bill and the preliminary tally for March 2009. The good news is that the Book-to-Bill ratio has finally moved out of the historically low territory that it's been in since January (0.47 for January 2009 and 0.49 for February 2009) with a nice bounce: March is so far projected to be 0.61! To learn more about why and how Book-to-Bill ratios are important to our industry and your regular forecasting, read last month's article on putting the macro economy into perspective and this earlier article considering the Chinese and US semiconductor market positions.

This is just more good news for what is starting to feel like quite a sunny streak.

To be honest though, the bounce to 0.61 for March is, indeed, the result of a rise in bookings but it is also because of a drop in billings. Ratios are, of course, all about relative differences between data sets. Take a look at the numbers from SEMI.org:

 


Billings
(Three-month avg.)

Bookings
(Three-month avg.)

Book-to-Bill

October 2008

871.4

839.7

0.96

November 2008

806.8

783.8

0.97

December 2008

672.4

579.1

0.86

January 2009

584.2

277.2

0.47

February 2009 (final)

525.5

258.4

0.49

March 2009 (prelim.)

455.3

278.9

0.61

Source: SEMI April 2009

So, what you see is that billings, on SEMI's three month moving average (3MMA) is at a low - that's not good. While bookings have bounced back from February, to be honest, I don't find great comfort in the 200s, even the high 200s.

A brighter viewpoint was offered by Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO of SEMI in the SEMI press release: "The sharp decline in books levels has abated. However, [...] semiconductor equipment bookings remain at levels below that needed to support a healthy supply chain."

I'm sure we're all willing to take any good news we can still. These data do bring good news, but we should remained focused and recognize that the global economic situation has not abated just yet.


Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Monday, 20 April 2009 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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