North American printed circuit board (PCB) shipments increased 9.7 percent in September compared to August, while bookings grew 6.5 percent, reflecting normal seasonal patterns, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC).
However, board shipments declined 0.7 percent in September compared to September 2012 and year-to-date shipments remained negative compared to the same one year ago, the IPC said. Printed circuit board bookings (new orders) increased 3.1 percent in September compared to September 2012, the association said.
The board book-to-bill ratio was 0.98, down from 1.00 in August and was the first time the ratio fell below parity this year. A ratio of 0.98 means that board manufacturers received $98 in new orders for every $100 of boards they shipped September.
The book-to-bill ratio was positive for the first seven months of 2013 because of growth in new orders. However, orders weakened during the summer, which put downward pressure on the book-to-bill ratio, the IPC said.
"A combination of slower order growth and shipments that exceeded bookings in August and September brought the book-to-bill ratio below parity to 0.98," said Sharon Starr, IPC's director of market research. Starr added although year-on-year shipment growth of printed circuit boards was still negative "it has been moving in the right direction." She said the recovery that was expected in late 2013 was dampened because of the government shutdown.