Washington, D.C. − Global sales of semiconductors reached $25.53 billion in July 2013, up 5.1 percent over the previous July, marking the highest sales total in 2013, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. Global sales in July were 2.6 percent higher than the previous month's total of $24.88 billion, and up for the fifth straight month.
Sales in the Americas increased 21.5 percent compared to July 2012, marking the region's largest year-over-year increase in more than two years, said SIA. Year-over-year, sales increased in Asia Pacific by 7.2 percent and grew 1.1 percent in Europe. However, sales fell 18.6 percent in Japan primarily due to the devaluation of the Japanese yen, according to the SIA.
On a sequential monthly basis, July sales increased 7.9 percent in Japan, 5.4 percent in the Americas, 1.2 percent in Asia Pacific, and 0.3 percent in Europe.
"The consistent, upward trajectory of global semiconductor sales continued in July, with the Americas showing particular strength and surging ahead of last year's pace," said Brian Toohey, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association, in a statement. "Sales increased in all regions and across every product category, and macroeconomic indicators bode well for continued growth during the remainder of 2013."
One potential bright spot is semiconductors used in industrial electronics applications. Although only tallying a 1 percent increase in the first quarter over the fourth quarter of 2012, it marks a "turnaround from the three percent decline in the fourth quarter," said Robbie Galoso, principal analyst for electronics at IHS, in a statement.
Galoso also noted that several large industrial semiconductor suppliers − Infineon Technologies, Analog Devices, and Texas Instruments − reported lean inventories because of strong orders from customers. They reported sequential declines in their industrial chip stockpiles with days of inventory (DOI) well below average.
In order to keep the semiconductor on a growth path, the SIA looks to the U.S. government to enact several initiatives to drive growth. "The semiconductor industry has built a head of steam as Fall approaches, and we look to Congress and the Administration to help us keep the momentum going by enacting initiatives that spur growth and boost U.S. competitiveness," Toohey stated.
"With the need for access to the world's top talent growing stronger by the day, the time is now for policymakers to take action on meaningful immigration reform legislation," Toohey stated. "Congress also must swiftly approve legislation to secure the supply of helium, a gas that is needed for semiconductor manufacturing and a range of other applications, before an Oct. 7 deadline, when a key source of helium – the Federal Helium Reserve – is scheduled to go offline to industrial and scientific helium users."
All monthly sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.