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Chip sales down 25% from last year

But up from last month

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Global chip sales in April are down 25 per cent from a year earlier, though at least they've improved over the last two months.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said today that chip sales worldwide tallied $15.6bn in April, compared to $20.9bn for the same month in 2008.

The upside is that two sequential months of improvement may indicate the slump is getting a bit less slumpy. April's $15.6bn was a 6.4 per cent increase from March, which was proceeded by a 3.3 per cent sequential rise from February. SIA attributes the rise to stronger-than-expected semiconductor sales for PCs and cellphones. Both markets account for nearly 60 per cent of total chip consumption, the trade association says.

Because of the rising sales, SIA now forecasts PC unit sales in 2009 will decline about 6 per cent compared to earlier predictions of a 12 per cent slide. Cell phone unit sales are anticipated to drop around 7 per cent compared to earlier predictions of 15 per cent.

Despite this, "visibility remains limited," according to SIA president George Scalise. "Two consecutive months of sequential sales growth may be an indication of a return to more normal seasonal sales patters in some market sectors, albeit at lower sales level than last year."

There's still plenty of semiconductor markets that remain weak, such as the worldwide automotive market, and corporate information technology spending.

The consumer electronics sector is a mixed bag, according to SIA. The trade group forecasts increased chip sales for digital televisions and hand-held game consoles, but a drop for most other consumer electronic products. ®

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