BANNOCKBURN, IL — North American printed circuit board sales growth accelerated in March and order growth rebounded.
Bookings outpaced shipments, and the book-to-bill ratio was flat at 1.02, IPC said.
The ratio is 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 1.0 suggests demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to six months.
It was the fourth straight month the ratio was at 1.0 or above.
Total North American PCB shipments rose 10.3% from last year, bringing the year-to-date growth rate up to 6.1% for the first quarter. Compared to the preceding month, March shipments were up 18.6%.
PCB bookings increased 10.5% year-over-year, boosting year-to-date bookings growth for the first quarter to 3.5%. Orders in March 2016 were up 28.1% from the previous month.
“March was a good month for the North American PCB industry, with strong growth in both sales and orders,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “This is a welcome change from no growth in 2015,” she added, “and the first quarter’s positive book-to-bill ratios support an expectation of continued growth in the second quarter.”