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World chip sales up 3.2% in August

What price Katrina and Rita, though?

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World chip sales hit $18.6bn in August, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said today.

August's total was up 3.2 per cent - an increase the SIA characterised as "sharp" - on July's $18bn, and just 1.7 per cent above the year-ago figure, $18.3bn.

Those figures represent World Semiconductor Trade Statistics' three-month rolling average. Actual August 2005 sales were $18.7bn, up from $17.6bn in August 2004, the SIA said.

'Sharp' or 'small', the growth is nonetheless welcome, and the SIA remains optimistic that when the year's over, 2005's sales total will exceed 2004's. It's forecasting six per cent year-on-year growth.

“While there are lingering concerns about the effects of high energy prices and the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the United States, end markets for semiconductors continue to be very strong," the organisation said.

"Unit sales of personal computers are continuing to run ahead of earlier forecasts, resulting in strong increases in sales of microprocessors and DRAMs. Flash memory sales were also up sharply, reflecting robust sales of cell phones and consumer products such as MP3 players.”

However, August's figures pre-date the meteorological events of September, so the real test will come in a month's time when the organisation publishes last month's sales figures.

The SIA noted that overall capacity utilisation hit 89 per cent in Q2, up from 85 per cent in Q1, and that it expects that figure to rise again during Q3, once September's numbers are in.

Year-to-date semiconductor sales through August stood at $144.4bn, the SIA said, up 5.8 per cent over the same period of 2004, when total sales amounted to $136.5bn.

Month-on-month, all regions experienced sales growth, but only Asia-Pacific was able to generate a year-on-year increase, of 13 per cent - all other territories were down by 4.3-9.5 per cent. ®

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