SEMI: Wafer shipments step back in 3Q

Nov. 14, 2008 – Worldwide silicon wafer shipments slowed nearly 3% in 3Q08, their biggest quarterly dip in nearly six years, following what had been a nice recovery in the second quarter, before the macroeconomic climate soured, according to new data from SEMI’s Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG).

Worldwide silicon area shipments in 2Q totaled 2243 millions of sq. in. (MSI), down 2.6% from the record 2303 MSI posted in 2Q (then a 6.5% sequential rebound). Compared with 3Q07, wafer shipments were up 3.2%, still on the small single-digit pace of the past three quarters (but clearly a significant slowdown from the prior two years). Even shipments of 300mm wafers, which had been credited with maintaining demand of late, slowed down during the quarter.

The swing to demand contraction “reflect[s] the increasing conservative mood in the industry,” said Kazuyo Heinink, chairwoman of SEMI SMG and VP of product marketing at MEMC Electronic Materials, in a statement.

With one quarter left to go in 2008, wafer shipments total 6709 MSI, on pace for annual growth of 3.6% — vs. ~8% growth in 2007 and ~20% in 2006, and the lowest wafer shipment growth since the 2001 crash.


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