SAN JOSE – The 90-day moving average for semiconductor equipment orders from North America-based manufacturers was $263.5 million in February, down 78% from last year, the SEMI trade group said. The bookings figures were the lowest since 1991.

For the month, the book-to-bill ratio was 0.48. A book-to-bill of 0.48 means that $48 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

Bookings were off 5% from January, suggesting the bottom still hasn't been reached.

Worldwide billings were $546.1 million, down 7% from the revised January figures and 58% from February 2008.

“These are the lowest bookings levels we’ve seen since SEMI began compiling data for the book-to-bill program in 1991,” said Dan Tracy, senior director of Industry Research and Statistics at SEMI. “Spending and investments remain at minimal levels as the semiconductor industry waits for clearer signals indicating improvement in end market demand.”

The SEMI book-to-bill is a ratio of three-month moving averages of worldwide bookings and billings for North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers.

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