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IPC releases PCB industry results for January 2013
Total North American PCB shipments were down 1.1 percent in January 2013 from January 2012, and bookings decreased 4.0 percent year over year. Month-to-month growth rates are not available in January due to the change in IPC's survey sample as of the first of the year. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American PCB industry crossed into positive territory in January and stands at 1.01.
"The book-to-bill ratio for the North American PCB industry strengthened for the second consecutive month, turning the corner in December after an eight-month downturn," according to Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. "Sales and orders, however, remained sluggish in January."
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 two to three months.
The Role of Domestic Production
IPC's monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In January 2013, 85 percent of total PCB shipments reported by survey participants were domestically produced. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC's survey sample, which change slightly in January, but are kept constant through the remainder of the year.
Interpreting the Data
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 may reflect cyclical 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 may not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.
The information in IPC's monthly PCB industry statistics is based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid and flexible PCB manufacturers in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio and the PCB Statistical Program Report each month. Statistics for the previous month are not available until the last week of the following month.
More detailed monthly findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including military and medical market growth, total market size and forecasts, will be published in IPC's North American PCB Market Report. The first report in this new monthly subscription series will be published later this week. More information about this report can be found at http://www.electronics.ca/store/ipc-north-american-pcb-market-report.html .