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Printed Circuit Board Shipments and New Orders Rise

The printed circuit board book-to-bill ratio climbed to 1.00, indicating growing demand.
Shipments and new orders for rigid printed circuit boards and flexible circuits in December increased from the month before, but declined compared to December 2010, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC).

Industry shipments in December 2011 dropped 5.1 percent from December 2010, and orders booked decreased 2.8 percent. For all of 2011, combined shipments of rigid PCBs and flexible circuits were down 1.9 percent while bookings declined 8.1 percent, according to the IPC.

Compared to November 2011, combined industry shipments for December 2011 increased 6.9 percent and bookings increased 8.7 percent. The combined industry book-to-bill ratio for rigid boards and flexible circuits in December 2011 increased to 1.00, the association reported.

A book-to-bill ratio of 1.00 means that for every $100 of boards shipped in the month, board manufacturers received $100 in new orders. In November, the ratio was 0.97.

“North American PCB sales in December increased over the prior month and the book-to-bill ratio strengthened, reaching parity for the first time since last summer,” said Sharon Starr, IPC market research director. She added that while sales ended the year down 1.9 percent, “current indicators point to a resumption of modest growth in 2012.”

The association noted that rigid PCB shipments dropped 3.6 percent, while bookings increased 0.1 percent in December 2011 from December 2010. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 7.2 percent and rigid bookings increased 10.7 percent.

Flexible circuit shipments in December 2011 fell 19.8 percent and bookings decreased 27.7 percent compared to December 2010, according to IPC. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments increased 2.9 percent and bookings dropped 10.7 percent.