The August 2016 findings from IPC's monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program have been announced. Due to the month’s positive order growth and negative sales growth, the book-to-bill ratio returned to positive territory and stands at 1.02.
Total North American PCB shipments in August 2016 were 4.1% below the same month last year. Year-to-date as of August, however, shipment growth remains positive at 4.2%. Compared to the preceding month, August shipments declined 3.1%.
PCB bookings in August increased 2.4% year-on-year, but this growth was not enough to bring year-to-date bookings back to positive territory. Year-to-date bookings as of August registered -0.7% growth. Compared to the previous month, however, orders in August 2016 increased sharply, by 37.1%.
“A year-on-year decrease in August sales growth for the North American PCB industry, combined with a modest year-on-year increase in orders, contributed to a return to positive territory for the industry’s book-to-bill ratio,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s Director of market research. “Growth rates for different segments of the industry continue to be mixed,” she added, “with some extreme differences between rigid PCB and flexible circuit producers.”
Detailed data available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed August 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, military and medical market growth, 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.
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.