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July North American PCB sales decline, but still up 8% for 2019

Aug. 28, 2019
The findings from IPC's North American Printed Circuit Board Statistical Program showed that sales growth in July turned negative, following order growth into negative territory

Electronics industry association IPC announced Aug. 28 the July 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program, which showed that sales growth in July turned negative, following order growth into negative territory. Meanwhile, the book-to-bill ratio remained at parity (1.00).

IPC's data showed that total North American PCB shipments in July 2019 were down 5.3% year-over-year. Year-to-date sales growth as of July remained positive at 8.3%. Compared to June, July shipments decreased 23.1%.

PCB bookings in July decreased 4.3% year-over-year, bringing year-to-date order growth down to a positive 1.2%. Bookings in July were down 17.8% from the previous month.

“Year-on-year declines in orders in seven of the last 12 months are taking a toll on sales growth in the North American PCB industry,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Sales growth has slowed in recent months and dipped into negative territory in July. The slowdown is reflected in the book-to-bill ratio, which has hovered around 1.00 in the last five months. This indicates the probability of flattening sales growth in the second half of the year.”

Interpreting the Data

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 states that year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth, as 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.

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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