LEATHERHEAD, SURREY, ENGLAND -- Growth in the printed circuit board industry will slow year-over-year in 2016, before picking up steam the next year, BPA Consulting said today.

"Our analysis of the long-term PCB and electronics equipment trends would confirm that the height of this five-year economic cycle will be in 2018, spilling into 2019."

The research group predicts demand for PCBs will reach $65.3 billion in 2015 and rise to $76.5 billion in 2019, an uncompounded gain of 17.2%.

The near-term macro economic indicators are swinging negative, dampening the 2016 forecast, BPA said. The firm cited Japan's recession, lagging US retail and automotive sales, depressed oil and commodity prices, and the "rebalancing" of China's economy from an export-driven model to one where production for domestic consumption makes up a greater share of GDP.

"Chinese authorities have been trying to make the economy more consumer-led and less reliant on exports, but the continuing fall in imports suggests domestic demand is not as strong as Beijing would like. From an electronics perspective, and PCBs and laminates in particular, communications infrastructure build in this region of the world [China] will be critical to the achievement of the forecasts," BPA said.

While production in China makes up an estimated 65% of the world's output, other ASEAN countries are gaining a larger share of the manufacturing pie, BPA noted.

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