BANNOCKBURN, IL — The 90-day moving average orders at North American printed circuit board fabricators in November fell 12.5% year-over-year and 16.6% from October, IPC said.

It was the first time sales fell below parity in over a year.

Year-over-year shipments also fell 3% compared to last year, and 9.9% from October.

Year to date, shipments are up 8.6% and bookings are up 6.6%, the trade group added.

The book-to-bill ratio was 1.01 for the month. 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 that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to 12 months.

“North American PCB industry sales growth in November fell into negative territory for the first time in 16 months, and orders also decreased sharply compared to the same month last year,” said Sharon Starr, director of market research., IPC. “The decrease in orders brought the PCB book-to-bill ratio down to its lowest level in almost two years. It is still in positive territory, but just barely. The 22-month run of positive ratios may be nearing its end, but it still offers an indication of potential sales growth for a few more months at least.”

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