September was another gangbusters month for the semiconductor industry, as worldwide sales grew almost 15 percent over last year, according to a trade group.
Sales of semiconductors climbed to $11.8 billion in September, reaching a 19-month high, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said in its monthly report. The figure represents a 1.6 percent increase over August sales of $11.6 billion.
According to the group, sales showed healthy increases in three of four world markets. Japan's chip sales, which have been sporadic since the beginning of the year, grew by only 1.3 percent over September 1996 and actually declined 2.9 percent from August 1997.
Doug Andrey, a SIA analyst, said both currency valuations and a poor economy were responsible for pulling down Japanese sales, adding that currency fluctuations are pulling down sales across the board. Were it not for the dollar's appreciation against European currency and the Japanese yen, he said, growth rates would have been about double the current rates.
The Asia/Pacific region (which excludes Japan) posted the largest increase from a year ago, with a 22.4 percent climb. The Americas came in second at 20.1 percent, and European sales grew by 15.7 percent. Compared to sales in August of this year, Europe saw the biggest gain with 4.4 percent. In Asia/Pacific, sales rose by 3.9 percent, while in the Americas sales grew by 1.9.
The SIA said the figures are in line with its projections, which call for a 5.5 percent increase for 1997 and a 16.8 percent increase in 1998.