SEAJ: Japanese equipment demand hotter than ever

January 9, 2003 – Orders of Japanese-made semiconductor equipment topped 150 billion yen in November 2003, the fourth consecutive month above 100 billion yen and nearing levels not seen in three years, according to the latest figures from the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ).

Worldwide equipment orders in November jumped to 151.1 billion yen ($1.41 billion), up from 145.31 billion yen ($1.33 billion) in October and 114.14 billion yen ($1.05 billion) in September, and a 171.4% boost from a year ago — the sixth consecutive month of year-on-year increases. For the first 11 months of 2003, global orders were up 37.8% from the same period a year ago, while domestic orders were up over 50%.

Demand continued to rise for all types of semiconductor equipment, with all but test and inspection equipment showing month-on-month gains; year-on-year, all categories except maskmaking/reticle equipment showed growth of at least 80%. Of particular note, orders for wafer processing equipment rose to 108.96 billion yen ($1.02 billion) in November, up from October’s 99.2 billion yen ($904.8 million) — that’s a 240% increase from a year ago, and amounts to nearly one-quarter of all such equipment sold in the first 11 months of 2002.

Domestically, orders dipped to 67.92 billion yen ($634.7 million), down from 72.04 billion yen ($657.2 million) in October and flat with September’s results, but up 180.9% from a year ago. Orders by equipment category fluctuated up or down by 5%-15% compared with the prior month. Year-on-year, significant gains were seen for equipment for wafer processing (355%), maskmaking (199%), wafer manufacturing (89%), and other related equipment (88%). Domestic orders have risen year-on-year in all but one month since September 2002.

Global sales of Japanese semiconductor equipment rose to 92.23 billion yen ($861.6 million) in November, a 72.0% increase from November 2002, well above October’s level of 62.38 billion yen ($569.1 million) but down considerably from 130.45 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in September. For the first 11 months of 2003, global sales were up 18.5% from the same period a year ago. Domestically, sales of 47.41 billion yen ($443.1 million) were flat compared with October and down 35% from September, but up 74.7% from November 2002 and 43.1% for the year-to-date period.

Global sales continued to keep pace with demand in November, with sequential increases in every category except wafer manufacturing equipment — notably wafer processing equipment (59%) and test and inspection equipment (21%), which together accounted for nearly 90% of the total. Year-on-year, significant gains were seen in sales of wafer processing (71%), test and inspection (105%), and related equipment (77%).


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