World chip sales edge up in October

PC chip inventory correction over?

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Worldwide chips sales hit $18.8bn in October, up 1.5 per cent on September's total, possibly a sign the industry may be moving out of the mini downturn that it has suffered through the most of the latter half of 2004.

Or possibly not - the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), which published the October sales figure this past Friday, also warned that it expects Q4's overall total to match Q3's.

That's effectively a further downgrade of the organisation's forecast for the year's semiconductor-sales total. In June, it predicted 2004's tally would hit $214bn. Last month, it reduced its expectations to 213.8bn. On the basis that Q4's sales match Q3's - $54.6bn - and taking the SIA's own total for the first nine months of the year - $157.6bn - that comes to $212.2bn.

That represents year-on-year growth of 27.5 per cent over 2003's $166.4bn sales total, despite the SIA's insistence that "we continue to project year-on-year growth of at least 28 per cent". Presumably it's able to do so by rounding the figure up.

Either way, October's sales were hampered by the "ongoing inventory corrections in certain market segments", the SIA said, though the microprocessor and memory markets were not among them. "Sequential sales growth of 6.4 per cent for microprocessors and 2.8 per cent for DRAMs are signs that excess inventories of these products have also been worked out of the supply chain," the organisation reported.

Chip sales rose month on month in all regions except Japan, the SIA said. ®

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