BANNOCKBURN, ILIPC, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, announced the April findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board Statistical Program.

Rigid PCB shipments are down 12.8% and bookings are down 11.8% in April 2007 from April 2006. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments are down 9.9% and bookings are down 18.9%. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments decreased 15.5% and rigid bookings decreased 12.6%. Yet, the book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in April 2007 reached parity at 1.00, which is a sign of near-term stability. 

Flexible circuit shipments in April 2007 were up 3% and bookings were up 68.9% compared to April 2006. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments are up 3.9% and bookings are up 30.1%.  Compared to the previous month, however, flexible circuit shipments decreased 25.1% and flex bookings were down 39.2%. The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio jumped to 1.28 in April, indicating probable sales growth in the near term. 
For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in April 2007 decreased 12% from April 2006, and orders booked decreased 8.5% from April 2006. Year to date, combined industry shipments are down 9.1% and bookings are down 16.5%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for April 2007 are down 16.2% and bookings are down 15.3%. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in April 2007 increased to 1.01.
“The April slowdown is a seasonal pattern we see just about every year,” said IPC President Denny McGuirk. “This year, however, the industry is also affected by a cooling economy.  Overall PCB sales in the first four months of 2007 are running about nine percent below the same period in 2006, but the positive book-to-bill ratios are signs of near-term stability in the North American PCB industry.”
The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from the companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next two to three months.
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