IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the February findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Year-on-year sales growth was flat in February, but the book-to-bill ratio strengthened.
Industry Performance Remains Below Last Year
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 0.5 percent in February 2014 from February 2013. Year-to-date shipment growth remained negative compared to the same period in 2013, but is improving and reached -4.0 percent in February. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments increased 8.7 percent.
PCB bookings continued negative at -11.5 percent year over year, which pushed year-to-date order growth down to -7.8 percent. Order growth improved 1.8 percent, however, over the previous month.
The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio strengthened for the third straight month and reached 0.99, just under parity, in February.
“A strengthening book-to-bill ratio is a hopeful sign, but it is still in negative territory, which is an indicator of sluggish growth in the next few months,” said Sharon Starr, IPC's director of market research. “While economic indicators are positive for 2014, the PCB industry's recovery is off to a slow start,” Starr added.
Detailed Data Available
The April edition of IPC's North American PCB Market Report ,containing detailed February data from IPC's PCB Statistical Program, will be published later this week. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC's PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports.
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 six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.
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 may not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in 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 not available until the last week of the following month.