Tripping Out Of The Gate Print E-mail
Written by Dominique K. Numakura   
Monday, 15 April 2013 14:08

What effect will a loose money policy have on the Japanese PCB market?

In the previous issue I spoke about the financial markets in Japan. Financial markets continue to surge as the Bank of Japan embarks on a bond purchase of more than $78 billion a month to try and double the amount of money in circulation. The new prime minister asked the Bank of Japan to supply more cash through bond buying with hopes to create inflation. The yen continues to depreciate against other foreign currencies, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange reaches new highs every week.  I wish I could say the same about the electronics industry. Unfortunately, the remarkable decline this industry suffered during year’s end continues into 2013.

The yen depreciated to 99:$1, while the Nikkei Index rose more than 40% over the past three months. The price of gold shot up to over 5200 yen per gram last week, and TV news reports showed long lines of people in front of “Cash for Gold” stores. Another business sector that is heating up as equity investment vehicles become more attractive is the investment seminars that are organized by security companies.

Unfortunately, all business indexes for the electronics industry are pointing downward since the start of the New Year.  Global semiconductor shipments declined even further during January 2013 compared to December 2012.  This decrease is affecting all countries with semiconductor manufacturing, especially those located in Asian countries. Digital camera shipments from Japanese manufacturers remained at extremely low levels during January and February. 2012 shipments for TVs manufactured in Japan with a screen size smaller than 40” was at almost zero -- an unbelievable 98.6% decline compared to the previous year. There is no sign of a rebound this year. Panasonic, the largest consumer electronics company in Japan, decided to exit the TV industry in the near future.

Business for cellphone manufacturers isn’t any brighter.  Cell phone shipments from Japanese manufacturers in January dropped by more than 65% compared with the same month last year. NEC, one of the major manufacturers in Japan, announced plans to cease all cellphone manufacturing later this year.

The number of circuit board products manufactured in Japan dipped even further in January compared with December. The core products from the industry include build-up multilayer rigid boards, double and multilayer flex circuits and rigid module substrates. Shipments for these main staples fell by almost 40% in January compared with the same month last year. This set a record for the lowest volume in three years. One of my business associates, an expert in the printed circuit field, told me that February data will be even worse than January’s.

From what we see, the financial markets and the electronics industry in Japan are heading down two different paths that began in December. The new prime minister is sure that an increased money supply will stimulate investments and inflation will encourage business for the manufacturing industries. However, in my opinion, the cash supplied by the Bank of Japan may become speculation money and may not end up as its intended use. The increased cash supply will take a long time to trickle down to the manufacturing industry. Let’s hope the trickle down doesn’t take more than a few months.

Dominique K. Numakura, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
DKN Research,

Headlines of the week
(Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for further information of the news.)

1. Mitsubishi Material (Major material supplier in Japan) 3/29 - Has developed a new sol/gel process for the thin film manufacturing process of PZT for MEMS devices. It makes the deposition speed four times faster.
2. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) 3/29 - Will supply nickel/hydrogen secondary batteries for the new SUBARU’s hybrid vehicle “SUBARU XV Cross Treck Hybrid.”
3. Innolux (Major display supplier in Taiwan) 4/2 - May be chosen as the supplier of the 4.7” LCD panels for the smart phones by Amazon. It will make the finance of Innolux better.
4. CIPA (Industry association in Japan) 4/1 - The digital camera shipment of Japanese manufacturers in February declined 49.7% to 4.26 million units compared to the same month the previous year.
5. Canon (Major electronics company in Japan) 4/2 - Will roll out a new laser facsimile “Canofax L410” with high speed and high security for business use.
6. Citizen Electronics (Major device supplier in Japan) 4/5 - Has rolled out a new LED lighting device “ COB Series, Version 2” with high luminous flux of 20,190 lm. Efficiency improved 38%.
7. Shibaura Mechatronics (Major equipment supplier in Japan) 4/5 - Plans to expand the ink jet printer business to industrial market such as semiconductors and automobile devices.
8. AUO (Major display manufacturer in Taiwan) 4/9 - Has unveiled a new full HD 5” OLED panel as the display of smart phones with a resolution of 443ppi.
9. Nippon Electric Glass (Major glass material supplier in Japan) 4/10 - Has rolled out a new non thermal expansion glass “ZERO” with a CTE of 1.0 x E-7/K (-40 ~ 80C).
10. Asahi Chemical Research (Ink supplier for printable electronics in Japan) 4/10 - Has commercialized a new silver ink paste “LS-470 Series” for the laser scribing process. It could generate fine lines down to 20 microns.

DKN Research Newsletter #1310, April 14th, 2013 (English Edition)
Electronic Packaging Industry News from Japan & Asia

Please find the full articles at

Last Updated on Monday, 06 May 2013 02:00




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