Bookings took a bashing in September, according to the latest monthly book-to-bill figures released by SEMI. North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment booked only US$984 million in the month, down from US$1.162 billion in August, continuing a rapid decline that started in June, 2011. The bookings figure is 15.3% less than the final August 2011 level and is 40.4% below the US$1.65 billion in orders posted in September 2010. The decline in bookings on a quarter-to-quarter bases is approximately US$1.32 billion.
The book-to-bill ratio also continued to fall. SEMI reported a book-to-bill ratio of 0.75, down from 0.80 in the previous month and down from 0.94 in June, 2011, the first month when a downward trend was established in the current business cycle.
“Both billings and booking continue to decline with three-month average bookings almost reaching a value last reported in late 2009,” noted Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO of SEMI. “While device makers are investing in advanced technology, broader investments await stability in the overall economic outlook.”
The three-month average of worldwide billings in September 2011 was US$1.31 billion. The billings figure is 9.8% less than the final August 2011 level of US$1.46 billion, and is 18.4% less than the September 2010 billings level of US$1.61 billion.
Reading between the lines, SEMI is not ruling out further declines for the remainder of the year, potentially taking the equipment industry back to levels not seen since January 09, the worst downturn the sector has experienced.
Double-dip recessionary fears for Western-developed nations are evident in the financial markets and global growth forecasts have only recently been revised downwards.