November 14, 2012 - After a nice 20% spurt in 2Q12, worldwide silicon wafer area shipments fell back to a -2% decline in 3Q12 at 2354 million square inches (MSI), according to updated data from SEMI. The shipments represent a 1% increase vs. a year ago.
Based on SEMI's most recent forecast, wafer shipments are still on track for a projected 1% increase overall in 2012 to around 8900 MSI. In fact, to reach that number, wafer shipments would have to decline another -12% in 4Q12 to roughly 2100 MSI -- which would not be out of the ordinary, actually, given that wafer shipments have declined in the fourth quarter each of the past two years (-7% in 4Q10, -14% in 2011) and have declined 7 out of 12 fourth quarters since 2000.
The latest numbers may be new, but the outlook for wafer demand hasn't changed -- ongoing market uncertainty "continue[s] to hinder a full recovery as the semiconductor industry encounters slower conditions than anticipated earlier in the year," stated Bruce Kellerman, chairman of SEMI SMG and senior director of semiconductor product marketing at MEMC.