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PCB Forecast Lowered But Remains Positive
Aug 1, 2013
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Total North American PCB shipments were down 3.4% in June 2013 compared to June 2012, and bookings decreased 6.1%, according to IPC -- Association Connecting Electronics Industries.

Year-to-date PCB industry shipments were down 4.7% and bookings were down 1.3%.

PCB shipments in June 2013 were up by 12.0% compared to May 2013, while bookings were down 3.6%. June shipments outpaced bookings for the first time in seven months, which pushed the PCB book-to-bill ratio down to 1.05--which, the association noted, is still a positive result.

Flexible circuit sales continued year-on-year growth in June, while flexible circuit bookings growth remained below 2012 levels.

Rigid PCB sales and orders both underperformed 2012 levels, but IPC said the negative margin has been improving in recent months.

"Until this June, monthly PCB orders outpaced sales every month since January, which has produced positive book-to-bill ratios for the past six months," said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. "A turnaround in sales growth this year still seems likely, but is not happening as quickly as the leading indicators suggested."

Starr said that, based on an unusually slow market response to order growth, and taking into account the industry slowdown worldwide, IPC revised its outlook for 2013 North American PCB sales growth.

"We expect to see sales strengthening in the second half of this year, resulting in 2013 sales growth of less than 1%," Starr said.

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