Combined rigid printed circuit board (PCB) and flexible circuits industry shipments in January 2012 were down 3.5% from January 2011, according to IPC -- Association Connecting Electronics Industries. Orders booked were up 6.2% from January 2011. The combined rigid and flex industry book-to-bill ratio in January 2012 continued moving up slowly to 1.01.
Rigid PCB shipments were down 3.1% in January 2012 from January 2011 while bookings increased 10.9% year over year. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in January 2012 increased to 1.01.
Flexible circuit shipments were down 7.9% and bookings were down 29.4% compared to January 2011. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio rose to 1.05.
"Both rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales followed normal seasonal patterns in January, with sales down from December," said Sharon Starr, IPC market research director. "The good news is that rigid PCB orders are up and the book-to-bill ratios for both rigid and flex improved again this month. They are now just above parity, which suggests a return to modest growth in the new few months."
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.
IPC's survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, providing indicators of regional demand. They do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production, survey participants are asked to supply the% of reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In January 2012, 82% of total PCB shipments reported by survey participants in both the rigid PCB and flexible circuit categories were domestically produced.
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