Chip sales slump in November

Worldwide sales of semiconductors fell in November to $20.8 billion, a decline of nearly 10 percent from the same period the year before.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers

Global sales of chips sank 9.8 percent in November, underscoring the impact the worldwide economic crisis is having on chipmakers, the Semiconductor Industry Association said Friday.

The San Jose, Calif.-based trade group said worldwide sales of semiconductors fell in November to $20.8 billion, a decline of 9.8 percent from November 2007 when sales were $23.1 billion.

Sales were down 7.2 percent from the $22.4 billion in October, according to the SIA.

Memory chips are putting the biggest damper on growth. Excluding memory, there was a slower year-on-year decline of 4.8 percent to $17.3 billion from $18.2 billion, the SIA said. "The memory market, which has been under severe price pressure throughout the year, has seen sales decline significantly while many other product sectors have year-to-date sales above 2007 levels," SIA President George Scalise said in a statement.

Micron Technology, the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, posted a net loss of $706 million last month due to an oversupply of memory. And Taiwan's memory chip industry has been seeking rescue funds from the government because of deteriorating market conditions.

For the first 11 months of 2008, sales were $232.7 billion, a slight increase of 0.2 percent from the first 11 months of 2007 when sales were $232.2 billion. And excluding memory products, year-to-date sales jumped 5.6 percent.

"We expect the industry will remain the second largest exporter in the U.S. for 2008," Scalise added.