Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) recently announced that the value of semiconductor equipment shipments in North America totaled US$1,910.80 million in April this year, up 4.7 percent from the previous month.
The value showed a month-on-month increase for the first time since December last year, when it rose 8.3 percent. Still, the April value is 29 percent less than that of April 2018.
“It is still early to say that the global semiconductor industry is likely to enter an upward trend soon, yet the recent improvement does reflect investments for new technological road maps,” SEMI explained. “New semiconductor production line operation requires a couple of years of preparation, including equipment ordering and setting that takes about a year,” said an industry expert, adding, “An increase in equipment shipments means that semiconductor manufacturers are preparing for an increase in demand.”
The optimism is supported by market research firm IC Insights’ recent report. “In the 60-year history of the global semiconductor industry, semiconductor market sales have never fallen for more than three quarters in a row since the mid-1970s,” said the report, adding, “The downtrend that started in Q4, 2018 is expected to end in Q2 this year.” The market research firm also said that the ongoing trade war between the United States and China is a factor of unpredictability in semiconductor market growth scenarios, the most dramatic turnaround in history is not unlikely in Q3 this year, and yet this year’s market growth is estimated at negative 13 percent in view of the 18 percent shrinkage in Q1, 2019.
In South Korea, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are expected to rebound in Q3. Specifically, the operating profit of Samsung Electronics is predicted to rise from slightly over six trillion won to approximately eight trillion won from Q2 to Q3 and that of SK Hynix is estimated to increase from 900 billion won to 1.3 trillion won during the same period.