PENANG -- Electronics equipment production continued to maintain a healthy growth rate over the past quarter, new data indicate.

China's three-month-average increase rose 14% in October over last year, bringing the nation's total gain to 13.8%, says Bill Jewell's Semiconductor Intelligence. China is on track for its highest annual growth in six years, SI says.

US electronics production slowed from earlier in the year but still rose 4.1% from a year ago in the September quarter. Year-to-date, the US is up 5%, the strongest growth in 11 years. The European Union does not release electronics production numbers, but overall EU three-month-average industrial production was up 4.2% in September versus a year ago, the highest rate in over six years.

2016 data from the United Nations Comtrade database pegs China’s electronic exports at $544 billion in 2016, accounting for 32% of global electronics exports. The EU accounted for 23% and the US was 8%. The EU was the largest importer of electronics in 2016, accounting for 23%, followed by China at 20% and the US at 17%. the combination of Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia accounted for 26% of electronics exports and 17% of imports.

Through September, China's year-to-date growth was 13.9%, up from 10% in 2016. Thailand's year-to-date electronic exports increased 13%, compared to a 3% decline in 2016. Vietnam's production was up 12%, down from a 16% gain in 2016. India had risen 9% year-to-date, up 700 basis points from 2016. Meanwhile, South Korea was up 3%, Malaysia was up 2.5% and Japan was up 1.8%. Japan electronics production in 2017 is headed toward is first annual positive change since 2006, SI noted. Taiwan's electronics production was down 5.6% year-to-date through September.

The global semiconductor market is headed for 2017 growth close to 20%. "Although much of the increase is due to rising memory prices, it is a good sign that solid gains in electronics production are also supporting the semiconductor market surge," SI wrote.

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