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Global chip sales soared to $20.5bn in August, a new monthly record, according to data from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

This represents an increase of 10.5 per cent from the $18.6bn recorded in the same period a year earlier, and beats the previous record of $20.4bn set in November 2005.

"Once again we saw relatively strong sales across a very broad range of semiconductor products, which reflects healthy end markets," said SIA president George Scalise. "Sales growth was led by DRAMs, which increased by 7.5 per cent from July and by 31.4 per cent from August 2005, an indication that PC sales remained strong.

"Semiconductor devices for consumer applications - NAND flash and consumer application-specific semiconductors - showed strong sequential growth, as manufacturers began gearing up for the holiday season," Scalise said.

The semiconductor industry currently derives more than 50 per cent of its sales from the consumer market, according to Scalise who noted that the semiconductor content of newer consumer products such as mobile phones, flash MP3 players, and digital cameras accounts for around 40 per cent of the cost of these products.

"Inventories have risen both at semiconductor manufacturers and in the channel in recent months, but remain in line with requirements for the holiday build season," Scalise concluded.

However, strong competition in the microprocessor market saw unit sales decline year-on-year by 6.8 per cent, despite a monthly rise of 2.1 per cent on July's figures.

Geographically, the biggest rise in total semiconductor sales was seen in the Americas, where there was a monthly increase of 3.6 per cent and a yearly jump of 18.3 per cent. This was followed by Asia-Pacific with a two per cent monthly rise and 10.5 per cent year-on-year growth. Europe lagged behind with 1.3 per cent monthly increase and 4.4 per cent rise in year-on-year figures.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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