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January North American PCB sales & orders drop sharply

Feb. 28, 2019
Electronics industry association PCB announced Thursday its January 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board Statistical Program, showing that PCB sales and orders both dropped sharply in June, while the book-to-bill ratio increased to 1.06.

In January, total North American PCB shipments were down 21.4% year-over-year, and down 12.3 percent from December 2018. Meanwhile, January PCB bookings fell 24.4% year-over-year, and were down 10.7% from December.

“While PCB sales and orders typically fall in January compared to the preceding month, the unusually sharp year-over-year decreases in January’s sales and orders probably reflect a market correction,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “The growth cycle that began in mid-2017 peaked in late 2017 and early 2018. Growth has been slowing since the middle of 2018. Current year-over-year growth rates reflect a comparison with peak levels of sales and orders a year ago. The steady decline in the book-to-bill ratio from a 12-year high in January and February of 2018 down to 1.01 in November indicated slowing growth, but the ratio rebounded and remains positive because orders continue to outpace sales. This indicates that positive sales growth is likely to resume by mid-2019.”

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to twelve months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are normally available in the last week of the following month.

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