Semiconductor equipment orders plunge

Orders for semiconductor manufacturing equipment from North American vendors plunged in September as signs of a sustained recovery in the semiconductor market remained elusive and chip makers held off on capital spending, according to industry organization Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI).

The preliminary book-to-bill ratio for equipment orders from North American manufacturers fell to 0.84 in September from 1.02 in August, SEMI said.

The book-to-bill that SEMI tracks is a ratio of three-month moving average of bookings to three-month moving average billings for North American semiconductor equipment makers. A book-to-bill ratio of 0.84 in September means that US$84 worth of new orders were received for every US$100 of sales billed that month.

The three-month moving average of bookings in September was US$822.6 million, down from US$1.02 billion in August.

“The persistence of poor forward visibility continues to hamper the ability to forecast the timing of the next up-cycle in capital spending,” SEMI said in a statement.