Yes, the recession is abating. Yes, you're getting tired of hearing that now - unlike six months ago. So, where's the business? What's going on, why are many in the semiconductor supply chain still scratching after margins that don't seem to be expanding?
There's some mixed news but the long-term answer is positive - the short-term problem for many is being able to survive, stave off acquisitions or insolvency to see the long-term.
While the latest book-to-bill numbers came out just the other week and discussedhere, there is still downward YoY behind the 3MMA uptick. The abating recession is good, don't get me wrong, but the speed of recovery is problematic for those in a sea of red.
For answers, we are looking at what's going on upstream to determine the pace of the cycle throughout the semi supply chain. Fabs have started spending again and the couched good news is that utilization levels are ramping up quickly, CAPEX is rebounding (e.g., here) - the couched part is that demand will quickly outstrip supply and there will be serious supply issues for 200 and 300mm wafers as early as 2010, as discussed here.
One other indicator that there really will be improvements later this 2H09, is seen in the semi equipment sector that was also one of the first to be hurt by the downturn in 2H07! This sector is showing improvements and while there is still a quarter to wait, according to this report.
September is likely to be a good month for equipment and the start of some better months, though in that 'couched' sense as supply shortages resurface.