Global orders in August of Japanese semiconductor equipment achieved levels not seen in nearly 15 months, according to the latest figures from the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ). Results from a broader perspective, however, appear to be mixed.
Worldwide equipment orders in August 2003 cracked the triple-digit mark at 102.07 billion yen ($921.6 million), up from 98.64 billion yen ($822.6 million) in July and a 69.4% increase from one year ago. August’s orders are the highest seen since May 2002. Domestic orders, however, continued to slide, down to 46.66 billion yen ($421.3 million) in August from July’s 56.92 billion yen ($490.3 million) — but still up from August 2002’s anemic 31.07 billion yen ($280.6 million).
Global sales of Japanese-made equipment were 77.34 billion yen ($698.3 million) in August 2003, basically flat compared with July 2003 sales of 77.22 billion yen ($665.0 million), and a 27.0% increase from August 2002 sales. After four months of steady gains, domestic sales slipped in August to 52.18 billion yen ($471.1 million), down from July’s totals of 61.37 billion yen ($511.8 million), but a 77.8% increase compared with one year ago.
The worldwide book-to-bill in August was 1.24 — the fourth consecutive month above 1.0 — down from July’s 1.40 but up slightly from 1.21 in August 2002. A book-to-bill of 1.24 means that $124 in new orders was received for every $100 of product billed for the month. Domestically, the book-to-bill was above 1.0 (just barely) for the fifth consecutive month at 1.03, down 22.6% from July’s figure of 1.33 and a 19.5% drop from one year ago.
Global orders for testing equipment were particularly brisk in August at 23.34 billion yen ($210.8 million), up 65.5% from July and a whopping 187.6% from August 2002. On the flip side, sales of Japanese-made mask and reticle equipment sunk to 171 million yen ($1.5 million) — down 90.6% from July and 91.9% from August 2002.