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Published for the Members of IPC




PCB Fabricator OEMs

EMS Companies




Includes Industry Results for Fourth Quarter 2017

MARCH 2018
IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018


This quarterly report is produced by IPC’s market research team for IPC members only. It is a benefit of IPC
membership and is not available for sale. The report is published four times per year, but the timing of each
report’s publication can vary, as it depends upon the collection of quarterly data from the IPC statistical
programs. The report is published as soon as all quarterly data can be collected, which is typically in February
or March, May, August and November.

Most of the industry-specific data in this report comes from IPC’s statistical programs, and eligibility to
participate in those programs is another valuable benefit of IPC membership. Statistical programs are available
to members in the PCB, EMS, electronics-grade solder and assembly equipment industry segments. In
exchange for contributing data confidentially, participants receive the complete reports on the aggregate results
for the programs in which they participate.

Members’ questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. They can be directed to Sharon Starr,
IPC director of market research, at sharonstarr@ipc.org or +1 847-597-2817.


Global Economic Outlook and Leading Indicators .................................................................................................. 1

Global Electronics Supply Chain Growth ................................................................................................................ 4
North American Industry Performance Index .......................................................................................................... 5
Current IPC Market Research Studies and Reports ............................................................................................... 6

© Copyright 2018, IPC, The Association Connecting Electronics Industries. All rights reserved under both international and Pan-American
copyright conventions. Any copying, scanning or any other reproduction of these materials without the prior written consent of the copyright
holder is strictly prohibited and constitutes infringement under the Copyright Law of the United States.
IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018


Robust Global Economic Growth Continued in Fourth Quarter 2017

The global economy continued to grow at a robust pace during the fourth quarter of 2017. Consumer and
business confidence, and employment were at multi-year highs, and consumer spending was strong. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased its worldwide economic growth forecast for both 2018 and 2019 to
3.9 percent, from 3.7 percent for both, citing “notable upside surprises” in Europe and Asia, as well as expected
global stimulus resulting from a major tax cut and overhaul passed in the United States in December 2017.

China’s fourth quarter GDP rose 6.6 percent over the same quarter in 2016, better than analysts expected,
despite restructuring in the economy that included monetary tightening to control debt levels, as well as a power
play between China’s dominant “old economy” sectors and its growing “new economy” sectors like e-commerce
and online financial services. The dominant old economy tends to hold down China’s GDP growth, but most
indicators in the fourth quarter were positive. Analysts expect China to benefit from rebounding exports and solid
domestic household consumption in 2018, but monetary tightening may slow the growth of real estate
investment and limit public sector infrastructure investment. There is also concern that rising exports will trigger
further protectionist actions against China from the Trump administration.

U.S. GDP grew 2.6 percent during the fourth quarter, slower than expected, mostly because rising incomes
induced many Americans to import more from other countries. Imports grew at their fastest pace in seven years,
and inventories accumulated at a modest pace. A rising stock market and low unemployment raised business
and consumer confidence to high levels. In December, sweeping tax reforms were enacted that will lower
corporate income taxes and some households’ income taxes. Most indicators were also positive, but concern
over inflation has analysts speculating about more aggressive interest rate increases.

In the Euro Area, GDP grew 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter, as economic sentiment reached new multi-year
highs. Exports increased at a robust pace, and unemployment was at its lowest level in many years. Corporate
lending in the EU was also at its highest point since the economic crisis ended. The outlook in both France and
Germany remain especially bright, as business sentiment and the Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) in both
countries suggest strong optimism and growth. Some political uncertainties do remain, however, in Germany
where non-majority parties seek to forge a coalition government, and in Spain, which is still working to resolve
the issue of Catalan separation. Results of Italy’s March 4 election added to its climate of political uncertainty, as
anti-establishment parties captured more than 50 percent of the vote and no plausible alliance has a majority.
Coalition talks to establish a new governing alliance could be lengthy. For now, however, consumers,
businesses and investors in the EU appear to have to shrugged off these uncertainties.

In the U.K., GDP increased 2.0 percent, which is faster than expected, driven by the services sector, which
accounts for 80 percent of British output. Construction expenditures decreased again in the fourth quarter, but
strong growth was seen in the manufacturing sector. The U.K.’s better-than-expected GDP growth has some
analysts concerned about more frequent interest rate increases from the Bank of England.

Japan’s GDP grew at a sluggish 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, its eighth consecutive quarter of growth. Q4
growth was largely due to exports, which were helped by a weaker yen and increasing demand for cars by U.S.
and Chinese consumers, and for electronic parts in other Asian countries. The increase in exports was the
fastest rate in two years, and was the largest contributor to growth. The increase in exports made up for
stagnant domestic demand, which was held down by rising food prices. Capital expenditures increased 0.9
percent in the fourth quarter, and housing investment grew at its slowest pace of the year, helped somewhat by
continued aggressive monetary easing.

IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018

After growing at its fastest pace in seven years during the third quarter, South Korea’s GDP contracted 0.9
percent in the fourth quarter, as exports contracted. An increase in semiconductor shipments was offset by a
decline in automobile shipments. Imports also fell, as domestic demand for machinery softened. Most other
indicators, however, were positive.

Source: The Economist, http://www.economist.com/indicators

Note: IPC's reporting on GDP growth reflects quarter-on-quarter (annualized) growth rates.

IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018

Global Leading Economic Index Indicates Slow Growth

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the past six months indicates increasing growth in
the global economy. China, the U.S., France and Germany have shown the most improvement in the past six

Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17

China 112.2 113.5 115.1 116.5 118.0 120.2 121.9
U.S. 102.3 102.7 103.1 104.5 105.9 106.4 107.0
France 101.6 101.5 101.9 102.7 103.1 103.2 102.8
Germany 101.3 101.3 101.0 101.1 101.8 102.3 102.6
South Korea 103.6 102.8 102.8 103.6 102.3 103.3 102.5
Japan 100.4 100.1 100.2 100.2 100.7 100.4 100.7
U.K. 99.3 99.2 99.0 98.7 98.5 98.3 98.1

Note on changes to LEIs: The Conference Board re-indexed its Leading Economic Indicators (LEIs) to a new baseline year of 2016 as of
June 2017. Previous reports show the old LEIs that reflect a 2010 baseline year. For more details, please visit www.conference-board.org.

IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018


Sales Growth Positive but Declining for Selected Electronics Supply Chain Segments
in Q4 2017
Year-on-year global shipment growth rates in Q4 2017 decreased but remained in positive territory for
electronics-grade solder, PCB assembly equipment and semiconductors, as shown in the graph below. Sales
growth in these segments has been positive throughout 2017. These supply chain sectors are subject to high
levels of volatility and trends only become evident over several quarters. The industry is currently in a growth

Year-on-Year Growth Rates in Global Electronics Supply Chain Sales by Quarter Since 2016

Q1 2016 Q2 2016 Q3 2016 Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2017

Solder Sales (Kilograms) 6.0% -8.3% -4.7% -9.6% 3.0% 10.5% 6.9% 4.1%
Semiconductor Sales (US$) -5.9% -6.4% 0.8% 8.2% 16.2% 22.5% 23.3% 22.0%
Assembly Equipment Sales (US$) -4.7% -2.5% 6.1% 5.2% 24.5% 12.8% 11.8% 3.9%

Source: IPC Statistical Programs; SIA for semiconductor sales.

IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018


North American Industry Performance Showed Strong Gains in First Half of 2017
IPC integrates the data trends from key segments of the electronic interconnect industry with leading indicators
in its IPC Index of North American Electronics Industry Performance. The segments reflected in this index are
PCBs (bare boards), EMS companies, assembly equipment, solder and semiconductors, along with the leading
indicators or U.S. new orders for computers and electronic equipment, and U.S. GDP growth.

After a two-year slump, industry growth rebounded at the end of 2016. Industry performance was strong in all
four quarters of 2017. The index in Q3 2017 reached its highest level since the recovery year of 2010.

Note: Before 2017, the indexing formula included wet chemistry and laminate sales. Quarterly indices have been revised since their original
publication to reflect the current indexing formula.

Source: IPC Market Research

IPC Market Update at a Glance
A Quarterly Benefit of IPC Membership
March 2018


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