Chip tool demand hits floor, keeps going

Feb. 24, 2009 – Everyone expects the industry climate to get worse before it gets better. But perhaps how bad and how quickly is catching some by surprise. Witness SEMI’s latest monthly summary of tool demand, for which by several metrics are as bad as seen in two decades — and even longer.

Here’s a quick & gruesome snapshot of how January (preliminary) numbers lay out:

– Bookings ($285.6M) are at their lowest point since Nov. 1991 — that’s as far back as our .xls of SEMI data goes. The 50% M-M dropoff is uncharted since 1991, and a -75% Y-Y decline hasn’t happened since the 2001 plunge.

– Billings ($592.2M) are their lowest since the spring of 1994. The M-M dropoff in the teens isn’t unusual, we’ve seen four of them in the past eight months; and a -54% Y-Y decline hasn’t happened since March 2002.

– The B:B of 0.48 is at a low not seen since the 2001 industry crash. And a sudden M-M plunge like this (from 0.86 in Dec.) has never happened according to SEMI’s data going back to 1991 — not even close.

– For those who really want to torture themselves: bookings are down 84% from their peak in June 2006 ($1782.3M), and billings are down 66% from their peak in August of that year ($1742.8M)

In a statement, SEMI president/CEO Stanley Myers could only reiterate what we all know: “Sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment continue to decline, exacerbated by the diminished demand for consumer electronics, and the global economic turmoil.”


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