SEAJ: Orders of Japanese equipment are weakening

November 1, 2004 – Orders of Japanese semiconductor manufacturing equipment marked their first year-on-year decline in September after 16 months of consistent growth greater than 50%, according to data from the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ).

Worldwide orders were 110.68 billion yen ($1.05 billion), down 6.6% from August and 3.0% from September 2003, due mainly to weak demand in Taiwan and China. Worldwide sales of 168.08 billion yen increased 32.3% from August and 28.8% from a year ago, achieving 12 consecutive months of year-on-year growth. The worldwide book-to-bill ratio (based on a three-month average) slipped below parity to 0.87, compared with 1.02 in August and 1.10 a year ago.

Domestic bookings for Japanese chipmaking equipment were 62.75 billion yen ($593.2 million) in September, up 16.5% from August but down 7.5% from a year ago, driven by higher demand for wafer processing equipment that offset flat growth in the backend segment. Billings were 79.85 billion yen ($754.9 million), up 41.4% sequentially and 9.7% year-on-year. The domestic B:B also fell below parity to 0.89, from 1.02 in the prior month and 0.92 a year ago.

Adding up data from the past three months, worldwide orders for Japanese chipmaking equipment were 314.85 billion yen ($2.98 billion) in calendar 3Q04, up 19.5% from 2Q04. Billings were up 10% sequentially to 437.60 billion yen ($4.14 billion). Domestically, 3Q bookings decreased 15.3% sequentially to 193.98 billion yen ($1.83 billion), while billings rose 10.0% to 216.81 billion yen ($2.05 billion). For the year through September, global orders and sales are on pace for 47.9% and 84.5% growth from the same period a year ago. Year-to-date domestic bookings are up 19.0%, while billings show a 40.7% increase.


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