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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Semiconductor sales up 20% in November

By J. Kyle Foster
Bloomberg News Service

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Worldwide semiconductor sales rose almost 20 percent in November, led by demand for chips used in mobile telephones and consumer electronics, the Semiconductor Industry Association said.

Sales increased to $12.7 billion from $10.6 billion a year earlier, the industry group said in a statement. November revenue grew 1.3 percent from October.

"If you look year to year, there's pretty good progress, but the second half of 2001 was the heart of the downturn, so you'd better be up," said Thomas Smith, a semiconductor analyst at Standard & Poor's Equity Services. "If you look month to month, it hasn't been too exciting." Smith said he doesn't own shares in any companies he covers.

Chip sales fell 32 percent in 2001, the industry's steepest decline, and in July had their first year-on-year increase since February 2001. Demand rose last month as more people replaced cell phones and bought products such as DVD players and video games.

The increase in sales last month from a year ago was driven by demand in Asia. Sales to Asian countries outside of Japan posted the biggest increase, rising $1.16 billion, or 34 percent, from last year to $4.62 billion. Sales in Japan rose 22 percent to $2.83 billion. U.S. sales rose 5 percent to $2.63 billion.

Japanese chipmakers such as Hitachi Ltd. have shortened year-end plant shutdowns because of demand for semiconductors used in cell phones that can take pictures.