SEMI: Wafer shipments, sales slide in ’08

Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments and revenues fell in 2008 for the first time since 2001 as everything fell apart in the final months of the year, according to date from SEMI’s Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG).

Area shipments had been on track for mild ~3%-4% growth through the first three quarters of the year, averaging around 2200 millions of sq. in (MSI). Then in 4Q shipments plunged to just 1428 MSI, a -34% dropoff — the first Q-Q decline since early 2005, and the most severe mid-2001. That pushed yearly shipments to 8137 MSI, down about 6% from 2007. The last annual decline in wafer shipments was in 2001 (-29%); since then years have alternated between medium (10% in 2003, 6% in 2005, 8% in 2007) to strong growth (19% in 2002, 22% in 2004, 20% in 2006).

Not surprisingly, the narrow timing of the slump was attributed to macroeconomic influences. “Despite
starting out the year strong, silicon shipments did not exceed levels seen in 2007,” said Nobuo Katsuoka, chairman of SEMI SMG and Shin-Etsu Handotai’s director of SOI process engineering department, in a statement. “The semiconductor market was not immune to the economic turmoil caused by the global financial crisis

Wafer revenues slumped in 2008 as well, down 5.8% to $11.4B following two straight years of >20% growth.


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