The world's two largest contract chipmakers Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) yesterday reported their strongest monthly sales in the past two quarters, strengthening the belief that chipmakers are well on the way to a strong rebound this quarter.
TSMC said that sales surged 58.1 percent to NT$22.45 billion (US$679 million), compared with NT$14.2 billion in March, making it the highest level since October when the global economic slump began taking its toll on electronics consumption. However, sales last month still represented a 22.2 percent decline year-on-year.
UMC said last month's sales grew 51.44 percent to NT$6.88 billion from March＊s NT$4.54 billion, but dropped 19.29 percent from a year ago. Last month's sales for the firm were also at their highest level since October.
※TSMC and UMC have slightly beat my forecast,§ said head of Fubon Securities Investment Services Co (富邦證券), Kenneth Lee (李克揚), who had expected TSMC and UMC to report NT$20 billion and NT$6.5 billion in sales last month.
※The sales growth reflects the effect of rush orders widely talked about in February,§ Lee said. ※Assuming the chipmakers meet their second-quarter guidance, monthly growth may slow down in May and June.§
On April 30, TSMC forecast that sales may expand more than 80 percent to between NT$71 billion and NT$74 billion in the current quarter from last quarter, exceeding the expectation of 70 percent quarterly growth by most analysts including Lee.
The chipmaker said it was seeing significant rebound in orders and demand from all sectors including communications, 〝computers and consumer electronics.
UMC predicted that wafer shipments would more than double this quarter from last quarter, which may also drive up its revenues by 107 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$22.46 billion in the April-to-June period, Credit Suisse said.
TSMC shares dropped for four straight trading sessions to NT$56.30 yesterday, while the stock price of UMC fell for a second trading session in a row to NT$14. The benchmark TAIEX has rallied for seven straight days on expectations the government will open the financial sector to China.