Global sales of computer chips rose 1.5 percent in August, the first month-to-month gain this year, the Semiconductor Industry Association said today.
The improved sales figures came despite a slump in Japan, where single-month revenues were 30 percent below August 1997 levels, according to the trade group's Global Sales Report.
Total sales rose $147 million to $9.81 billion in August from $9.66 billion in July. The rise was the first month-to-month gain since November, a spokesman for the trade group said.
"Given all of the volatility in the global markets, these numbers are a positive sign for the semiconductor industry," said Semiconductor Industry Association President George Scalise. "We are cautiously optimistic about the industry's prospects for additional gains in the fourth quarter, because it's traditionally the most active chip quarter of the year."
The report showed modest month-to-month gains of 3.4 percent in the Americas, 0.7 percent in Europe, and 3.1 percent in Asia-Pacific markets.
Sales in Japan fell 2.2 percent from July 1998 as that country's sales totals continued to show the impact of currency depreciation. Japan's sales declined only 0.1 percent in yen terms from July to August.
On a year-to-year comparison, global sales for August were 15.7 percent lower than the $11.63 billion recorded in August 1997. Sales in Asia-Pacific, which were severely hurt by the region's economic crises, showed a 12.6 percent decline from August 1997, while sales in the Americas fell 14.3 percent.
Sales in Europe, which have exhibited strength throughout 1998, were only 2 percent below August 1997 sales.