Weak demand in China, Taiwan hurts Japan tool orders

October 4, 2004 – Worldwide orders for Japanese semiconductor manufacturing equipment in August fell 22.6% to 118.50 billion yen ($1.08 billion), the lowest level in six months, due to declines in demand from Taiwan and China. Orders were 16.1% higher than 102.07 billion yen ($927.9 million) in August 2003, marking the 15th straight month of year-on-year growth — but it’s the smallest increase since June 2003, following nearly a year of >50% growth rates. Domestic orders of 53.84 billion yen ($489.5 million) sunk 30.4% from July, but were up 15.4% from a year ago. Sequentially, all major equipment categories saw declines of around 25%, and all tracked moderately higher than a year ago except the backend segment (test/inspection down 14%).

Worldwide billings of Japanese chipmaking equipment were 127.15 billion yen ($1.16 billion) in August, down 10.4% from the prior month but up 64.4% from a year ago, for 11 consecutive months of year-on-year growth. Domestic sales fell nearly 30% to 56.47 billion yen ($513.4 million), although that’s still 8.2% higher than August 2003’s levels. Month-on-month, strong global sales of mask/reticle and related equipment were offset by noticeable drops in wafer manufacturing and processing equipment. Year-on-year, sales were up by 40% for frontend equipment, and more than double for backend; domestic sales of frontend equipment were down slightly, with backend sales up by roughly 25%.

The three-month moving average, used to soften month-to-month swings, showed worldwide bookings in August of 145.41 billion yen ($1.32 billion), down 7.5% from July and up 49.3% from a year ago. For worldwide billings, the three-month average was 142.18 billion yen ($1.29 billion), up a fraction from July and 81.2% from August 2003.

The worldwide book-to-bill ratio (based on the three-month average) was 1.02 in August, down from 1.11 in July and 1.24 in August 2003. A book-to-bill of 1.02 means that $102 in new orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month. Domestically, the B:B also was 1.02, compared with 1.09 in July and 1.03 a year ago.

The results reflect some adjustments to the SEAJ’s July estimates. Worldwide bookings were revised upward by 8% from earlier estimates, while domestic orders were reduced by 3.3%. Billings saw a reverse treatment: global sales reduced by 8%, and domestic sales increased by 3.3%. The global B:B ratio was lowered from 1.11 to 1.06, and the domestic B:B was raised from 1.09 to 1.12.

Year-to-date, global bookings for Japanese equipment stand at 744.55 billion yen ($6.77 billion), up 60% from 464.22 billion yen ($4.22 billion) for the same period in 2003. Domestic bookings of 360.34 billion yen ($3.28 billion) are up 25% from 287.67 billion yen ($2.62 billion) a year ago. Through August, global sales of 667.22 billion yen ($6.07 billion) were up 107% vs. Jan.-Aug 2003, with domestic sales tracking 51% higher at 334.11 billion yen ($3.04 billion).


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