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Global Semiconductor Sales Declined in the First Quarter

Global sales of semiconductors in the first quarter declined 7.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

Sales in the first quarter totaled $69.9 billion down from $75.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011, the SIA reported. First quarter 2012 sales were also down 2.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.

The good news for the industry was that sales increased 1.5 percent in March compared to February. Sales in Europe grew 3.8 percent in March compared to the prior month, and chip revenue in Japan increased 1.2 percent month over month.

“We are encouraged to see that sequential growth resumed across all regions, especially in Europe and Japan, in March,” said Brian Toohey, SIA president. He added that there should be moderate seasonal growth in the second quarter, and growth should build momentum later in the year.

In addition to improving macroeconomic conditions, and increasing semiconductor content across a wide range of applications, supply chain recovery related to the Thailand floods of 2011 will continue to drive an improved outlook, according to the SIA.

“However, while forecasts for global economic growth are improving, macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties remain,” cautioned Toohey.