WSTS halves 2008 growth outlook

May 27, 2008 – Global semiconductor sales are seen growing just under 5% in 2008, better than the 3.2% seen in 2007 but only half what was expected just six months ago, according to new calculations from World Semiconductor Trade Statistics Inc. (WSTS). The group’s 2009-2010 forecasts remain close to original expectations.

The WSTS had projected 9.1% growth in its November forecast update, but now becomes the latest industry group to lower its expectations for the current year, citing a “weak” 4Q07 performance.

The group remains optimistic that growth will continue and peak in 2010, and hasn’t really changed its figures for 2009-2010 — 5.8% for 2009 (vs. 6.2% in November) and 8.8%, respectively. Demand is seen driven by PCs, digital consumer electronic devices, mobile communications, and automotive electronics, noted WSTS chairman Ulrich Schaefer, in a statement. “These trends are expected to unfold in a challenging, yet generally healthy world economy,” he said.

By individual category, the new WSTS forecast is unsurprisingly bearish on memory, lowering its growth outlook in 2008 to a -5.5% decline vs. 4.6% growth in November. Other IC categories aren’t doing as well as had been hoped, either: analog and micro had been seen at ~12%/10% growth in 2008, respectively, but are now seen managing just 1.9%/5.4%. Logic is the exception, seen rising 13.4% in 2008, better than had been predicted (10.2%). A bright spot in the 2008 market: sensors, now seen enjoying 7.4% growth instead of a previously predicted -1.2% decline.

Geographically, rebounds across the globe have not materialized as expected, so the WSTS has revised its 2008 projections to just 1.9% in the Americas region (vs. 7.2%) and 3.1% for Europe (vs. 6.2%) — and even in Asia-Pacific, down to 5.2% growth vs. an anticipated 12.5%. Only Japan is seen doing better than expected, at 7.4% (vs. 4.2%). The WSTS thinks 2010 will be the peak year for all geographies, with 7%-10% growth across all regions.


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