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Semiconductor Equipment Orders Fall

Although semiconductor equipment orders declined, the book- to-bill ratio for chip equipment increased to 0.79 in November.
Shipments and new orders for semiconductor equipment fell in November compared to the previous month and to November 2011, according to trade association SEMI.

The three-month average of worldwide of billings (shipments) in November 2012 was $911.9 million, down 7.5 percent from the revised October 2012 level of $985.5 million. The figure was also 22.5 percent lower than the November 2011 billings level of $1.18 billion.

New orders for equipment also declined in November. The three-month average of worldwide bookings in November 2012 was $720.4 million. The bookings figure is 3 percent lower than the revised October 2012 level of $742.8 million and 26.3 percent lower than the November 2011 order level of $977.2 million.

The chip equipment book-to-bill ratio for November was 0.79, up from 0.75 in October. A ratio of 0.79 means semiconductor equipment manufacturers received $79 in new orders for every $100 of equipment they shipped in the month.

A poor economy, high semiconductor inventory levels and sluggish computer sales are “tempering chip makers’ investment in additional manufacturing capacity,” said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI. “Softening in the market for new semiconductor manufacturing equipment has persisted through the second half of 2012 and the November equipment billings are at a three-year low,” he said.