PCB and laminate industries outlook
12 January 2009
According to industry consultants BPA, there was a dramatic growth in electronics equipment in 2000 and 2001, unequalled in the previous ten years since 1991; until the '01 slowdown hit.
Throughout this time (prior to the slowdown), many companies were reporting shortages of equipment and materials and were doubling and tripling ordering, fearing that they would not be able to satisfy the current demand due to shortages.
BPA state that evidence shows there was a significant increase in inventory, which greatly inflated the whole situation. This means that the inventory was created against anticipated demand rather than the actual underlying order rate; a situation exacerbated further down the supply chain. Currently, the situation is different. The measures indicate that there is not the same level of inventory in place that encourages BPA to forecast a trough as deep as that seen in 2001. The evidence also points to a U-shaped demand curve due to the fact that the market has been slowing in some instances since the end of 2007. This is claimed to be particularly true in Japan; a market that appears to be approximately six to nine months ahead of other regions. Other countries and regions around the world have mirrored this pattern of development.
However, IPC has recently issued its World PCB Production and Laminate Report for the Year 2007 which presents estimates of PCB production and laminate market by region and product type worldwide.
The report estimates that the world PCB market continued to expand in 2007, but at a slower growth rate than in previous years. At nearly $50.3 billion, worldwide PCB production grew 5.6% in 2007. PCB growth has outpaced the growth of most other industries, thanks to a growing demand for electronic products. According to IPC’s report, the top-ten PCB producing countries accounted for 92% of world PCB production in 2007, based on value. China, Hong Kong and Japan together accounted for more than half of total world production. China’s growth in PCB production slowed to 16%, but still continued to outpace most other countries. The United States, ranked fifth, produced 8% of the global total in 2007.
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