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PC market drives chip sales rebound

But is it enough?

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The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) yesterday lifted its third-quarter world chip sales forecast on the back of a three per cent increase in revenue between June and July.

July saw $12.9 billion worth of chips sold worldwide, up from June's figure of $12.5 billion. July's number is the highest monthly total this year, just 8.5 per cent up on the lowest figure, February's $11.8 billion. February was a short month - all the rest have been over $12 billion, narrowing the range further. All in all, it's been a pretty flat year.

We know sales are up on last year. What matters is that the gap between 2002's sales and those made this year increases. So far there's little sign that they are doing so beyond the odd percentage point or two here and there.

Even so, the SIA says July's figures "reflect the continued strengthening of the... market". On that basis, it believes it will "exceed our forecasted sequential growth of 5.9 per cent for the third quarter". It doesn't say - you'll note - by how much it reckons it will exceed that figure.

Nor does it say whether that increase beyond expectations will improve the year's final overall tally.

The PC market appears to have driven chip sales in July, with sales of DRAM chips up 8.2 per cent and processors up 5.6 per cent. That, says the SIA, is a result of an early start to the 'back to school' period.

Capacity utilisation hit 94 per cent in July, while excess inventory in the supply chain effectively disappeared.

Month on month, sales in Japan rose 4.8 per cent, up 2.9 per cent in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region and 2.3 per cent in Europe. The Americas saw a single percentage point gain over June. ®

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