SURREY, ENGLAND – According to a quarterly survey by BPA Consulting, the PCB industry isn’t showing signs of improving any time soon. 
Many PCB makers in Asia and Europe reported first-quarter output down more than 40%. North American revenues were not as low for the quarter, but its market has been in a slow decline for over a year.
The survey indicates that high volume manufacturing in North America and Europe has nearly disappeared, although Germany is still producing mid-sized volumes of automotive PCBs. The output of the country’s PCB makers is estimated to be 40% to 50% automotive products, compared to 4% worldwide.
Inventory surpluses are nearly gone, and laminators have reported a slight jump in demand. Results from the survey show no significant increases in second-quarter order books, and low growth is forecast through 2010.
Fabricators had hoped to raise prices to compensate for the increased cost of raw materials in 2008, but the competitive market has forced prices down by 5% to 10%, according to the survey. As a result, BPA has further cut its 2009 forecast from a 10% decline to an approximate 16% decline for the year.
BPA expects worldwide PCB demand to return to its 2007 level, just over $49 billion, by 2012. 
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