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Chip sales chug along in February

The Semiconductor Industry Association says last month's $10.01 billion in worldwide chip sales was essentially unchanged from January--but the lack of growth isn't all bad.

Chip sales held steady in February, the Semiconductor Industry Association announced Friday.

Preliminary results indicate that last month's $10.01 billion in worldwide chip sales was essentially unchanged from January. But the lack of growth isn't all bad, the SIA said, given that January sales dipped 1.7 percent from December's $10.18 billion.

"Although business investment has yet to pick up, consumer confidence and inventory replenishing continue to rise, driving the early stages of the overall recovery," George Scalise, the SIA's president, said in a statement. "Flat to slow growth of semiconductor sales in the first quarter of this year is in line with expectations. Our forecast calls for the second quarter to be slightly stronger with accelerating growth in the second half of 2002."

Indeed, the SIA is predicting a semiconductor comeback in 2002, with worldwide semiconductor sales totaling $150 billion. That's about a 7 percent increase from 2001's $139 billion in sales.

So far, some regions of the world are picking up more quickly than others. February saw sales growth in the Americas, for example, offsetting dips in Europe and Japan, the SIA said.

Despite this initial progress, the semiconductor market has a long way to go toward a recovery and an even longer stretch before it can match 2000's record of $204 billion in sales.

Although February chip sales held steady on a month-to-month basis, year-over-year sales were down 35.3 percent from February 2001's $15.5 billion, the SIA said.

The group uses a three-month average to account for differences in companies' financial reporting schedules.