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January book-to-bill healthy.

BANNOCKBURN, IL -- The North American rigid PCB industry book-to-bill ratio for January 2006 stayed strong at 1.09, and the North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio jumped back up to 1.30. These ratios are based on monthly data collected from PCB producers that participate in IPC's monthly PCB statistical program.

The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio in January 2006 also remained strong at 1.13. This combined ratio has become less relevant to analysts, however, due to the divergence between the rigid PCB and flexible circuit segments of the industry in growth rates and book-to-bill patterns.

The ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from the companies in IPC's survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which indicates probable near-term growth.

Rigid PCB shipments are up 1.9% and bookings are up 13% in January 2006 from January 2005. Flexible circuit shipments are up 16.5% and bookings are down 15.4% year on year. For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in January 2006 increased 2.7% from January 2005, and orders booked increased 10.8% from January 2005.

"The industry's positive results in December continued into January, with both rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales ahead of last year's numbers," said IPC President Denny McGuirk. "The book-to-bill ratios are also strong, which suggests that the surplus of orders will keep sales healthy in the near term."

According to the report, the book-to-bill ratios and growth rates for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined are heavily affected by the rigid PCB segment, which represents more than 75% of the current PCB market in North America. The influence of flexible circuits is growing, however, as flexible circuit shipments have shown stronger growth than rigid PCBs over the past two years.
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Title Annotation:HAPPY NEW YEAR
Author:Shaughnessy, Andy
Publication:Printed Circuit Design & Manufacture
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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