PCB book-to-bill ratio continues to climb

Bannockburn, Ill. — North American shipments for both rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs) and flexible circuits in April 2010 increased 30.7 percent from April 2009, as orders booked increased 37.6 percent from April 2009, according to the monthly North American PCB industry report from IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries. Year to date, combined industry shipments increased 13.2 percent and bookings climbed 31.8 percent.

Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for April 2010 decreased 13.4 percent and bookings dropped 16.1 percent. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in April 2010 increased to 1.10.

The monthly report also finds that rigid PCB shipments rose 35.7 percent while bookings increased 40.6 percent in April 2010 from April 2009. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments and bookings grew 14.9 percent and 34.0 percent, respectively. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments decreased 12.3 percent and rigid bookings fell 15.7 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in April 2010 continued to climb to 1.11.

Flexible circuit shipments in April 2010 dropped 14.9 percent, but bookings increased 6.6 percent compared to April 2009, according to the IPC report. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments were down 5.5 percent and bookings grew 7.0 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments fell 26.4 percent and flex bookings declined by 21.5 percent. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in April 2010 remained at 0.98.

“The book-to-bill ratio just keeps on climbing,” said IPC president & CEO Denny McGuirk. “It has now been above parity for a full 12 months, indicating a recovery that is gaining momentum. The growth so far this year has been in rigid PCB sales. The month-to-month sales decline from March 2010 reflects normal seasonal effects.”

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 two to three months, said IPC.

Rigid PCBs represent an estimated 90 percent of the current PCB industry in North America, according to IPC’s World PCB Production and Laminate Market Report.