Carnegie warns of drop in chip sales

The world chip sales market “probably dropped” in August, a Carnegie report has said.

World chip sales were likely to be $24.4 billion in August, unchanged from the high sales of July.  Carnegie added that taking everything into account this means the market would have to be down, marking a three month decline of 2.7 percent year-on-year.

Although it expected world semiconductor sales to be unchanged in 2012 the market could see a rise of seven percent next year.  This sector had remained stable since early 2010, marking an average $300 billion annual run rate.

For chip sales, Carnegie said the sector had been affected in August as a result of Chinese high tech exports falling in the month. This was coupled with high tech imports rising, reducing the trade surplus in this industry as well as PC production falling by 10 percent in August as a result of the shift from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and the popularity of tablets.

US PC imports fell to the lowest level in over a year in July, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Computer accessory imports were also weak, Carnegie said.

It added that the shift to smartphones was the “story of 2011” but has continued in 2012. Handset sales rose around 28 percent in August, however, it wasn’t so positive for PCs and TVs which saw slow sales this year in the US.

Regionally Vietnam’s tech exports rose by 93 percent in August, driven by Samsung targeting 100 million in handset exports from Vietnam in 2012. This success overshadowed Samsung’s Gumi, Korea handset plant, which now produces less than 20 percent of Samsung’s handsets.

It was a similar story for North America, where Samsung had lost some ground since Q2. This was put down to due to smaller, inefficient chip plants shutting down in North America, with more sourcing coming from fabs, especially Taiwan.

“Samsung’s gradual shift of production of handsets to lower cost countries has hurt chip imports,” Carnegie added.