Sales growth in North America slumped in the first two months of 2015 for printed circuit boards (PCBs), electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and semiconductors after strengthening in the fourth quarter of 2014. At the same time, U.S. new orders for electronics products trended gradually downward in Q4 but improved in January 2015. U.S. new orders for electronic products tend to lead sales by one to two months.
IPC's PCB book-to-bill ratio, which normally leads PCB sales by three to six months, has been in positive territory for the past five months and stood at 1.05 in February. Ratios above parity indicate greater demand than supply, which may be a precursor of strengthening sales growth in the PCB industry in 2015.
All data cited in this report are based on rolling averages of the past three months, which irons out some of the volatility in monthly data to show clearer trends.