A return to normal seasonal IC demand dynamics coupled to a rebuild in inventory levels from ICs though to silicon wafers will push wafer demand up nearly 30% in 2010, according to Gartner. Wafer demand in the fourth quarter of 2009 is estimated to increase 7% compared with the preceding quarter and is expected to grow a further 2 to 3% in the third and fourth quarters.
According to the market research firm, annual demand for 300mm wafers will enjoy steady growth in 2010. The annual growth rate will pass 30%, and the average monthly consumption will reach 3.6 million wafers in the fourth quarter of 2010.
However, silicon wafer producers face an uncertain period in the mid to long-term as consolidation and shifts in IC production continue. Gartner is suggesting that producers switch strategies from the current short-term approach to a longer-range approach.
This could be interpreted that overcapacity is set to continue for polysilicon production and price declines continuing, despite an increase in demand.