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Board Shipments Increased in May



The book-to-bill ratio for rigid printed circuit boards and flexible circuits declined slightly to 1.03 in May from 1.04 in April.
Combined shipments of rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs) and flexible circuits increased 1.7 percent in May compared to April, according to Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC).

New orders for boards and flexible circuits increased 3.3 percent in May compared to the previous month.

The book-to-bill ratio for rigid printed circuit boards and flexible circuits was 1.03, down slightly from 1.04 in April, the association reported. A book-to bill ratio of 1.03 means board manufacturers received $103 in new orders for every $100 of boards they shipped in May.

Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments decreased 2.6 percent, but flexible circuit bookings were up 19.8 percent. Rigid PCB shipments in May were up 2 percent compared to April, while bookings increased 1.9 percent, according to IPC.

Combined shipments of rigid PCBs and flexible circuits in May were down 2.6 percent from May 2011, but new orders (bookings) increased 10.6 percent.

Rigid PCB shipments were down 1.9 percent in May 2012 from May 2011, but bookings increased 12 percent year-over-year. Flexible circuit shipments in May 2012 were down 10 percent, and bookings were down 1.1 percent compared to May 2011, the IPC reported.

“North American PCB sales and orders in May continued slightly below last year’s levels and reflected normal seasonal patterns,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “The May book-to-bill ratio remained positive for the sixth consecutive month. This reinforces our hope that sales will gain strength in the second half of this year.”

The book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid PCB segment. Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 89 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC.

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