August 10, 2009 – More evidence of a pent-up semiconductor industry ready to surge: global shipments of polysilicon in 2Q09 displayed by far the biggest growth spike of at least the past nine years, according to data from SEMI’s Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG).
Total polysilicon shipments in 2Q (semiconductor applications only not including solar) were 1686 millions of sq. in. (MSI) — a 79% jump from the prior quarter, which admittedly was the lousiest in nearly as long (just 940 MSI, the 2nd biggest sequential dropoff since at least 2000). Compared with a year ago silicon shipments were down about -27% but that’s better than the past two quarters (-57% in 1Q, -34% in 4Q08).
The real pain of the downturn didn’t set in until late 2008, and within the big 1Q dropoff was what seemed to be a bottom reached in the January-February period, according to previous statements by Nobuo Katsuoka, chairman of SEMI SMG and Shin-Etsu Handotai’s director of SOI process engineering department. Now, he says, wafer shipments are recovering “in line with general trends reported elsewhere in the semiconductor industry.”
Such a big surge following such a plunge could suggest either the industry overcompensated its cutbacks and has rushed back to fill the void. It could also mean that suppliers are so ready to stay ahead of perceived demand, they might actually be delaying a return to true substantiated growth…in which case we might see more quarters of some volatility ahead. Stay tuned.