North American PCB Business Growth Slowed in May


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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the May 2016 findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and orders in May continued ahead of last year’s levels, but at slower rates than in recent month. The book-to-bill ratio also declined slightly but remains positive at 1.01.

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Total North American PCB shipments in May 2016 were 4.4 percent above the same month last year. Year-to-date growth is up 5.3 percent for the first five months of the year. Compared to the preceding month, May shipments were down 3.1 percent.

PCB bookings in May increased a mere 0.1 percent year-on-year, bringing year-to-date bookings growth down to a positive 4.0 percent. Orders in May 2016 were down 5.6 percent from the previous month.

“Business growth in the North American PCB industry remained positive, but growth rates have slowed,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Shipments exceeded bookings in May for the first time in six months, which pushed the book-to-bill ratio down another notch, nearly to parity” she added.

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report,containing detailed May data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available within the next two weeks. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports.

Interpreting the Data

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 three to six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

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 reflect seasonal 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 might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are normally available in the last week of the following month.

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