Component shortages threaten industry growth

An analyst has warned that the semiconductor food chain is so stretched that vendor shipments of PCs are being threatened.

Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, said that although WSTS figures show that semi sales in the last year are just below the $300 billion mark, there will be “choppy first half waters” this year, with a “whopping second half ricochet”.

Penn said that signs of shortage included TSMC and UMC cutting back on Chinese New Year annual maintenance problems.  “There is no excess inventory in the pipeline and capacity is maxed out,” he said. “The front end book-to-bill has now dropped back below unity”. Memory prices have also rebounded sharply.

HP, he said, has warned of a shortfall of PC shipments in the first quarter because of component shortages of all types, from sensors to CPUs.

He said: “The whole industry food chain is now an overstretched taut spring, with no easy roll back option”.  Overall, 2011 will be a good year for the industry, he said.