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North American PCB Industry Summer Slowdown Continued in August

The Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) announced today the August findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and orders were weaker year over year, but the book-to-bill ratio strengthened slightly.

Slump in Sales and Orders is Typical for August
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 3.6 percent in August 2014 from August 2013, reducing year-to-date shipment growth to -0.9 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were up 4.9 percent.

PCB bookings decreased by 4.5 percent compared to August 2013, putting the year-to-date order growth rate at -5.9 percent. Order growth declined 5.0 percent in August compared to the previous month.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio edged up to just above parity at 1.01 in August.

“August business results for the North American PCB industry continued slightly below last year’s levels,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research, “but the PCB book-to-bill ratio continued hovering near parity and actually strengthened a bit in August. Flat growth is still expected for the remainder of 2014,” she added.

Detailed Data Available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed August data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in the next 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

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 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 not available until the last week of the following month.

Source: IPC

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