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Tue, Apr 01, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World's semiconductor sales rose in February

BLOOMBERG , TOKYO

Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose 18 percent in February from a year ago, an industry group said, adding a decline compared with the previous month signaled the industry's recovery may be losing ground.

Sales totaled US$11.8 billion last month, up from US$10 billion in February 2002, the San Jose, California-based Semiconductor Industry Association said. Compared with January, sales fell 3.3 percent, the group said in an e-mailed statement.

Semiconductor makers, including Intel Corp, have trimmed their sales forecasts, citing concerns that demand for personal computers and other electronics may not recover as fast as once expected. Executives of computer-related companies say the prospect of a prolonged war in Iraq is also damping confidence.

"The recovery in the semiconductor industry that has been under way for more than 15 months appears to have stalled in February," SIA President George Scalise in the electronic-mailed statement. "Demand has softened in the markets that drove growth throughout the past year, including PC's, global wireless and consumer."

Chip demand will be stronger toward the second half, ending with "double digit" growth this year, Scalise said.

War-related concerns are also hitting memory-chip prices, which have fallen about 4 percent since the start of hostilities.

The benchmark chip on the open market recently traded at US$3.24, below the UUS$4 price needed by memory chipmakers to remain profitable and almost half the US$6.11 the chips traded at on the first day of the year

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