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Chip biz body ups world sales forecast

Now 2000's record will be beaten in 2005, not later

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Global chip industry monitor World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) has decided that business will be better this year than it previously thought.

In June, the organisation forecast worldwide chip sales would this year rise 11.5 per cent over 2002's total. Now it's saying that growth will be around 14.2 per cent.

That's still less than the 16.6 per cent growth WSTS was forecasting this time last year.

It also believes the current industry growth cycle will last longer than it suggested in June. Next year will see growth in the order of 19.4 per cent, up just as single percentage point from June's 18.4 per cent forecast.

Come 2005, however, and sales will rise 12.6 per cent. Yes, that does represent a growth slowdown, but nothing like the 7.6 per cent increase previously predicted would imply. Sales in 2005 will now total $216.1 billion, rather than the $200.4 billion derived from June's numbers. That increase puts 2005's total sales above 2000's record $204.4 billion.

WSTS' positivism arises out of the reduced impact of SARS. The disease lasted for a shorter duration than anticipated, and its effect in the chip industry and its customers didn't prove as damaging as the WSTS had previously assumed it might be.

The growth markets over the coming years will be Far Eastern: Japan is expected to see sales rise 22.5 per cent this year, Asia-Pacific 18.2 per cent. Their positions will be reversed in 2004, with AP seeing 22.7 per cent growth and Japan 19.2 per cent. The upshot, says WSTS, will be that by 2006, AP will account for over 40 per cent of the world's chip sales, at the expense of all other regions.

The Americas aren't expected to see any real growth until next year: a 0.8 per cent rise during 2003, followed by a 17.4 per cent leap in 2004. The Old World's growth will be more sedate: up 12.8 per cent this year, 15.1 per cent next. ®

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