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Gartner: Global SME spending to decline 11.6% in 2012

Worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment spending is projected to total $38.9billion in 2012, an 11.6% decline from 2011 spending of $44bn, according to Gartner.

"Weak market conditions in the second half of 2011 caused pullbacks in expansion plans throughout the semiconductor manufacturing industry," said Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner, pictured. "This investment weakness will continue through the first half of 2012 and will surge in the second half of the year. We're basing these assumptions on the aggressive spending plans announced by the major semiconductor manufacturers. There is a risk that some capacity expansion plans will slip from the second half of 2012 into 2013.

"Downward pressure on utilisation rates is easing, with the result that utilisations will begin to climb upwards again in the second quarter of 2012. Once the supply is balanced, dram and foundry manufacturers will need to begin to increase spending to meet an increase in demand, as the pc market rebounds and consumers begin spending as the economy stabilises."

Gartner analysts said worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment spending will return to double digit growth in 2013 when spending is projected to total $43bn, a 10.5% increase from 2012. Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is forecast to total $60.9bn in 2012, down 7.3% from 2011 spending of $65.8bn in 2011. Capital spending is expected to grow 3.5% in 2013.

The wafer fab equipment (WFE) market closed out 2011 with spending up 13.3%, based on strong momentum in the first half, however, WFE spending is forecast to decrease 12.7%. Gartner forecasts that WFE spending in 2012 will primarily be on leading edge technology, as the 20mm and 28/32nm ramp up.

Gartner analysts said wafer fab manufacturing capacity utilisation will decline into the low 80% range by the middle of 2012, before slowly increasing to about 90% by the end of 2012. The analyst believes that leading edge utilisation will return to the low 90% range by the second half of 2012, providing for a positive capital investment environment.

Author
Chris Shaw

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