SEMI: Monthly tool demand slips to three-year lows

June 20, 2008 – Offering more evidence for chipmakers’ belt-tightening this year, semiconductor equipment demand has slumped to three-year lows, to levels not seen since mid-2005, according to the latest monthly data from SEMI.

May bookings for chip tools from North American manufacturers sunk to $1030.4M, down -5.5% from April’s revised levels and down an eye-popping -37% from May 2007. Billings were $1312.6M, down -1.8% month-on-month and down -21.4% Y-Y. That adds up to an anemic book-to-bill ratio (B:B) of 0.79, meaning $79 worth of orders was received for every $100 worth of product billed.

April billings were slightly adjusted upward to $1337.3M from $1318.9M; bookings, though, were chopped by 4% (reduced by $43M).

For some perspective on how soft the market is:

– Billings are their lowest since February of this year — but year-on-year growth (-21%) is the lowest since September 2005.

– Bookings are at their lowest point since Sept. 2005 as well — which was the last time they were below $1B — and are down 42% from their peak of $1782.3M two years ago (June 2006).

– The B:B was previously 0.79 in September 2007 — but the last time before that was Jan-March 2005.

And a quote from SEMI president/CEO Stanley Myers suggests the worst isn’t yet over, either. “The data does not indicate a change in this trend over the next quarter,” he said in a statement.


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