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Solid growth for North American PCB sales in June, though slowdown continues

July 31, 2019

Electronics industry association IPC on July 31 announced the June 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board Statistical Program, showing that sales growth remained positive during the month while bookings slipped, despite the book-to-bill ratio returning to a parity mark of 1.00.

IPC's data showed that total June North American PCB shipments were up 5.5% year-over-year, and year-to-date sales growth as of June was 11.0%. Compared to May, June shipments increased 10.7%

June's PCB bookings decreased 5.9% year-over-year, moving year-to-date order growth down to 2.4%—compared to 4.3% as of a month earlier. However, June bookings were up 3.5% from May.

June's book-to-bill ratio ticked up 0.01 to 1.00 after May's mark fell under the parity mark for the first time in more than 2 years.

"The North American PCB industry continues to enjoy sales growth but at a slowing pace," said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. "Order growth has also slowed, with the year-over-year growth rate dipping into negative territory in June for the third time this year. Declining order growth has put downward pressure on the book-to-bill ratio. The fact that the ratios have been at or near parity in recent months indicates that sales growth is likely to slow in the second half of the year."

Interpreting the Data

IPC's 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 12 months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

IPC advises that year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

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.

About the Author

Mike Hockett | Former Editor

Mike Hockett was Editor in Chief for EE from September 2018 to Sept. 2019. Previously he served as editor for two manufacturing trade publications: Industrial Distribution, and Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation. He began in sports writing for a trio of newspapers in Wisconsin and Iowa and earned a BA degree in print journalism from UW-Eau Claire.

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