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Orders up for chip equipment makers

The pace of new orders picked up for the North American semiconductor equipment industry in October, which posted a book-to-bill ration of 1.09.

The pace of new orders picked up for the North American semiconductor equipment industry in October, which posted a book-to-bill ration of 1.09, the industry's trade association said.

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) said in a statement that $109 in orders were received for each $100 worth of products shipped by makers of computer chip equipment.

The three-month average of worldwide shipments in October was $1.47 billion. The figure is four percent above the September 1999 level and 72 percent above the October 1998 shipments level of $852 million. The three-month average of bookings in October 1999 was $1.59 billion.

"The October numbers show that equipment orders are back on track for full recovery," Stanley Myers, president of SEMI, said in a statement. "The resurgence of the global semiconductor industry, coupled with positive economic and industry forecasts for 2000, appear to be finally spurring growth in capital spending."

In recent years, the industry had been caught short by a glut of excess manufacturing capacity in the semiconductor field. Oversupply had led chipmakers to slash spending on new equipment, but analysts believe the slowdown in orders hit bottom last year and has begun to track upward since then.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., SEMI is an international trade association serving more than 2,300 companies participating in the $65 billion semiconductor and flat-panel display equipment and materials markets.