North American PCB Orders Up, Sales Down, Raising Book-to-Bill Ratio


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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the July 2017 findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Positive year-on-year growth in orders and negative growth in sales continued, driving the book-to-bill ratio up to 1.09 in July.

Total North American PCB shipments in July 2017 were down 6.2% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 4.4% below the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, July shipments decreased 22.3%.

PCB bookings in July increased 8.0% year-on-year, driving year-to-date order growth up to 2.5% above the same period last year. Bookings in July were down 19.8% compared to the previous month.

“Results for the North American PCB industry in July continued a trend of sales below last year’s levels and growth in bookings,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “This combination of factors pushed the book-to-bill ratio still higher in July. The ratio has been above parity for six consecutive months, indicating the prospect of a recovery in sales by the end of this year.” She added, “The steep declines in month-to-month growth rates should not raise alarms, as these reflect normal seasonal patterns.”

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Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed July data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available next week. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, growth trends by company size tiers, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found here.

Interpreting the Data

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to six months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are normally available in the last week of the following month.

About IPC

IPC is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 4,200 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Stockholm, Sweden; Brussels, Belgium; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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