Semiconductor fab utilization rates are set to increase to 88% in 3Q09, returning to levels seen before the current downturn, according to market research firm IC Insights. Higher production loadings should result in IC ASPs rising by 5% per annum through 2010 and 2012. According to the SICAS data, IC capacity utilization reached a low point of 57% in 1Q09, as production was slashed to stem a serious inventory build. As the inventory burn took place utilization rates rebounded to 78% in 2Q09.
However, IC Insights expects the average capacity rates for 2009 to fall to 77.4%. The lowest rates seen were in 2001 when fab utilization fell to 71.2%.