Two semiconductor-equipment industry reports showed orders for new products stabilized in June.
California-based Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International and market research company VLSI reported an increase in their respective June book-to-bill ratios -- a measure of new orders in comparison with the number of products sold each month.
SEMI said Friday its three-month rolling average of orders to billed products in the U.S. rose to 0.93 in the month, up from 0.90 in May. VLSI reported on Thursday its June Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment ratio rose to 0.98, from 0.95 the prior month. SEMI reports on U.S. semiconductor equipment companies and VLSI analyzes global chip-equipment makers.
A ratio of 1 means chip manufacturers received $1 of new orders for every $1 of products sold. The figure has been below 1 for more than two years. But VLSI forecast the worldwide figure will rise to 1 in July.
SEMI didn't make a forecast but noted some favorable trends.
"Higher chip production capacity levels and the higher average chip pricing has lent further credence to the sentiment that the equipment market will begin recovery in the second half of the year," said Stanley Myers, president and chief executive at SEMI in a written statement.
In June, the average number of bookings for North American suppliers was $720 million, marginally lower than the $724 million in May. But average billings of products sold had a more significant drop to $771 million from $805 million in June, thus improving the book-to-bill ratio.
In worldwide terms, bookings increased to $2.6 billion from $2.4 billion in May, while billings rose to $2.7 billion from $2.5 billion, according to VLSI.