Japanese equipment numbers shrug summer lull, post gains

September 18, 2003 – Japan continues to push for an industry rebound by posting strong semiconductor equipment sales in July, according to the latest figures from the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ).

Global sales of Japanese-made equipment were 77.22 billion yen ($665.0 million) in July 2003, a 4.4% drop from June sales of 80.81 billion yen ($676.9 million) but a 20.6% increase from July 2002. Domestic sales continued their impressive climb, up to 61.37 billion yen ($511.8 million), well above June’s totals of 51.80 billion yen ($433.9 million) and a 75.9% increase from one year ago. July’s domestic sales exceed those recorded in April and May combined.

Worldwide equipment orders in July 2003 totaled 98.64 billion yen ($822.6 million), up from 91.48 billion yen ($766.3 million) in June and a 27.4% increase from one year ago. Domestic orders in July were 56.92 billion yen ($490.3 million), a 14.1% drop from June’s 66.24 billion yen ($554.8 million) and a 5.3% decrease from July 2002.

The worldwide book-to-bill came in at 1.40, down from June’s mark of 1.57 and July 2002’s 1.61, but still the third consecutive month above 1.0. A book-to-bill of 1.40 means that $140 in new orders was received for every $100 of product billed for the month. Domestically, the book-to-bill was above 1.0 for the fourth consecutive month at 1.33, down 22% from June’s figure of 1.71 and a 4% drop from one year ago.

SEAJ says that although global sales and domestic orders have slipped a bit, and July is typically a slow month for chipmaking gear, it nevertheless sees demand for wafer processing equipment as “particularly brisk not only in Japan but also in the rest of Asia.”


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