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Worldwide sales of semiconductors increased to $12.90 billion in July, up from $12.50 billion in June, and marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

The SIA said in a statement on its Web site that July's sales rose 10.5% from a year ago.

"July's sales reflect the continued strengthening of the semiconductor market, and we believe that we will exceed our forecasted sequential growth of 5.9% for the third quarter," SIA President George Scalise said in the statement. "With seasonal third-quarter patterns, such as consumer builds for back-to-school and the year-end holidays, we expect sequential increases from the consumer, computation and communications sectors."

PC-related products were the strongest sector in July, with microprocessors up 5.6% and DRAMs up 8.2% from June, the industry group said. The SIA attributed the growth to the beginnings of a business upgrade cycle and seasonal back-to-school personal computer purchases.

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In addition, the consumer sector, which includes DVDs and digital cameras, continued its recent strength, as optoelectronics increased 5.3% and flash sales climbed 5.7% over June.

"We believe that excess inventory in the supply chain is now negligible and in-line with normal patterns," Scalise said in the statement.

July sales in Japan rose 4.8% from June. Asia-Pacific sales climbed 2.9%, Europe was up 2.3%, and sales in the Americas increased 1% from the prior month.