The book-to-bill ratio for printed circuit boards (PCBs) increased to 1.02 in November, while the same ratio for semiconductor equipment rose to 1.06 as orders increased.
Orders for printed circuit boards increased by 12.4 percent in November compared to November 2013, although bookings in November declined 25.5 percent compared to October, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC).
However, board shipments declined 3.4 percent in November compared to November 2013, the association said. Board shipments in November also fell 5 percent compared to October.
The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio edged up to 1.06 in November compared to 1.05 in October.
"Although PCB sales in North American continued below last year’s level in November, orders again came in above last year," said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. She added that strong orders in the fourth quarter have driven the book-to-bill ratio into positive territory, which offers hope that year-on-year PCB sales growth will turn positive in 2015.
The book-to-bill ratio for semiconductor equipment also increased. The equipment ratio was 1.02 in November compared to 0.93 in October, according to trade association SEMI. A ratio of 1.02 means manufacturers received $102 in equipment orders for every $100 that they shipped.
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment received $1.22 billion in orders in November 2014, a 10.4 percent increase from October when orders totaled $1.10 billion. Orders were down 1.7 percent compared to November order level of $1.24 billion, according to SEMI.
The three-month average of worldwide equipment billings in November 2014 was $1.19 billion, a 0.5 percent increase from October when billings were $1.18 billion. November billings were also up 6.8 percent compared to November 2013 when they totaled $1.11 billion, SEMI said.
"With the rise in bookings, the book-to-bill ratio climbed above parity in November," said SEMI president and CEO Denny McGuirk. He added that 2014 has been a solid growth year for the semiconductor equipment market and "we expect the foundry and memory sector to continue leading investments in 2015."