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Wireless lifts worldwide chip sales

Sales jumped just over 3 percent to $11.1 billion in April, reflecting a slow recovery from the doldrums of 2001, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Worldwide processor sales increased for a second month in April, thanks to growth in wireless chips.

Sales jumped just over 3 percent to $11.1 billion during the month, the Semiconductor Industry Association said Friday. March revised sales were $10.7 billion. The SIA's three-month average of chip sales was also up a healthy 10.5 percent.

The sales bump-up shows that the industry, as predicted, is mounting a slow recovery from the doldrums of 2001, the SIA said.

"Semiconductor sales in April are continuing the steady growth exhibited in the first quarter of this year, another sign that the industry is rebounding from 2001," said George Scalise, the SIA's president.

The SIA does not disclose its monthly numbers for each market category. However, an increase in wireless chip sales marks a good sign for the industry, since the wireless and communications sectors were hit particularly hard during last year's slowdown.

The semiconductor group predicts that the modest growth of the last few months will continue through the remainder of 2002. It will be a long, slow process, and the SIA is forecasting that chip sales will rise slightly in 2002 to $150 billion, a gain of about 7 percent from last year's $139 billion.

However, April's year-over-year sales were still disappointing. Worldwide chip sales were 19.4 percent below the $13.7 billion recorded in April 2001.

The SIA, a trade group that represents chipmakers, uses a three-month moving average to record sales. The average is used to account for variations in companies' monthly financial reports.