Global sales of semiconductors powered ahead in November, accelerating for the fourth straight month to grow to $16.1 billion, a 25.7 percent increase compared with a year earlier, an industry group said on Monday.
Demand was strong in most product areas. Chips for cars and cell phones sold especially well. Sales of memory chips was also above the normal seasonal increase, driven by strength in the personal computer market.
The growth, in line with expectations from most analysts, is up from around 10 percent in June and July, after which sales began to accelerate.
Sales were also up from a month earlier, rising 4.5 percent, according to monthly data from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics group.
The sales data are a three-month-rolling average which softens the impact of sudden bursts of trading activity at the end of corporate calendar periods.
The WSTS publishes more in-depth data to paying subscribers and investment bank J.P. Morgan, which has access to these more detailed numbers, said unit sales in November explained roughly two-thirds of the revenue increase and higher average selling prices per chip were responsible for the rest.
"(The average price increase was) higher than our expectation of 6.3 percent year-on-year growth," the bank said in a note.
"Given that November monthly sales results were roughly in line with our estimate, we are maintaining our 2003 semiconductor sales forecast of $166.4 billion or an 18 percent increase," it added.
Early this summer most analysts still expected 2003 sales growth of a modest 10 percent, as the recovery of the industry's worst downturn in 2001 was slowed down by the war in Iraq and the outbreak of the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus in Asia.
But unexpectedly strong demand for end-products such as computers, mobile phones, consumer electronics devices and gadgets has boosted sales of chips in the second half of 2003.