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Asia market trends in printed circuit boards

Japan
Last week, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) released the August production numbers for printed circuit boards. This statistical data from the first eight months of 2009 provides us with a pretty good snapshot of market trends and allows us to forecast performance for the remainder of the year.

August shipments for printed circuit boards in Japan totaled 54.553 billion yen, representing a 7.5% decline from the previous month. This decline can be attributed to the week-long summer vacation in August; however, comparing August 2008 to August 2009 shows a decline of 22.9%.

The good news is this monthly decline rate has decreased steadily over the year, and most of us predict a positive growth rate will be realized before year’s end (comparing month to month).

Other printed circuit board manufacturing countries in Asia experienced the same dramatic drop in business spurred on by the financial crisis in September 2008.

Shipments dropped by 60% to 75% during the fourth quarter of last year, but have recovered this year. Market trends for each country is slightly different, but most are trending upward.

Korea
Manufacturers in the Korean printed circuit board industry are reporting increased sales over the last several months. The exchange rate for the Korean won against other major currencies is very low making oversees transactions more profitable for manufacturers who export cellular phones and flat panel TVs. Printed circuit board manufacturers and material vendors are operating at full capacity to satisfy strong demand from Korea’s domestic customer base. Many Korean manufacturers can not accept orders from new customers because they are too busy. Lucky them.

 

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Taiwan
Business for the Taiwanese printed circuit board market has improved significantly over the last three quarters, especially this third quarter for 2009. Strong sales from the rapidly evolving category of netbooks and smart phones are generating a large demand for both multi-layer rigid boards and flexible circuits.

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Sales forecasts from Taiwanese printed circuit board manufacturers are optimistic and predict enough activity in the pipeline to keep them busy for the next two quarters. Taiwanese printed circuit board factories are currently running at 80% to 90% capacity, and most expect to be at full capacity for the rest of the year.

China
Data from the Chinese printed circuit board industry is very difficult to come by; however, the economic stimulus plan launched by the Chinese Government has been working. Imported and exported Chinese printed circuit board products have continuously increased over the last three quarters, and most Chinese factories have recovered 80% to 90% of their business lost during last year.

Japan’s sorrow
Unfortunately, the flowers are not in full bloom for Japanese printed circuit board manufacturers. They continue to dig themselves out of a hole while their Asian counterparts are already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Japanese management teams are not too optimistic for a turnaround by year’s end, and some pessimistic forecasts predict another bottoming out for their industry.

Source: EPT Newsletter, VentureOutsource.com, October 2009




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