PCB market slips some in June
After showing significant signs of growth in the first half of the year, generating optimistic expectations for the rest of 2012, the printed circuit board (PCB) market experienced a slight dip in June, according to the most recent report from the IPC Association.
According to the report, rigid PCB shipments declined 7.3 percent in June 2012 as compared to June 2011 and bookings decreased by 2 percent. Flexible circuit shipments actually increased 2.1 percent, but bookings dropped 8.4 percent.
Overall, industry shipments in June decreased 6.6 percent and orders declined 2.7 percent from the same period a year before. Year to date shipments were also down (5.6 percent), but bookings increased 1.6 percent.
However, the figures are not all discouraging for the PCB software industry. Notably, the book-to-bill ratio was above 1.00 for both rigid PCBs (1.01) and flexible PCBs (1.16).
The book-to-bill ratio is determined by the ratio between the value of orders for the last three months and bills paid during that time. If the result is above 1.00, demand has outpaced supply in that time, which bodes well for the industry.
Additionally, while sales and shipments were generally down compared to one year ago, they increased from the previous month. This and other factors are reasons for optimism, according to Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research.
"Rigid PCB business continued below last year's levels, but orders continue to outpace sales, which is encouraging," she said. "The June book-to-bill ratios remained in positive territory for the seventh consecutive month and maintained an especially strong performance in the flexible circuit segment of the industry."