I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007 | 04-30-2021

This week’s biggest news came in the form of industry briefings—there were a lot of them and the news was universally positive. The news you need to read for this week includes three reports from IPC detailing: the strength and risks in the global economic recovery; a strong EMS book-to-bill ratio; and strong North American PCB sales. Zeroing in on a single company, Apple reported a significant jump in revenue. On the governmental issues front, SEMI offered its support to the introduction of the Endless Frontier Act, intending to improve U.S.-based semiconductor development. We round off the list with Pete Starkey’s report on the EIPC Technical Snapshot session, this time analyzing material pricing pressures and supply chain issues. 

Count carefully, and you’ll find that the Top 5 actually contains six news items this week. That’s by intent. To our thinking, the EMS and PCB reports from IPC represented one story told in two parts. 

Enjoy!

IPC: Global Economic Recovery is Picking Up Speed, but Risks Remain
Published April 28

The United States should see first quarter growth eclipse 6% (seasonally adjusted annual rate), led by additional fiscal stimulus and the broad lifting of COVID-related restrictions. Monetary policy remains accommodative, which should help to further growth. Finally, consumer and business confidence is roaring back as vaccination rates increase and consumers appear anxious to spend. The United States is set to grow 6.3% during the year.

SEMI Lauds Introduction of Endless Frontier Act to Boost U.S. Technology Innovation
Published April 23

SEMI, the industry association serving the global electronics design and manufacturing supply chain, applauded the introduction of the Endless Frontier Act (S. 1260) to bolster U.S. semiconductor innovation. This bipartisan legislation calls for the investment of more than $100 billion in science and technology initiatives to strengthen U.S. capabilities to develop critical technologies, expand the U.S. workforce, and foster federally funded research. The legislation was introduced in the Senate  by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors. 

Apple Reports Revenue Up 54% to New March Quarter Record
Published April 29

Tim Cook’s quote captures it well: “This quarter reflects both the enduring ways our products have helped our users meet this moment in their own lives, as well as the optimism consumers seem to feel about better days ahead for all of us.” 

North American EMS Industry Down 3.6% in March
Published April 23

“EMS shipments bounced back sharply in March, following a February marked by severe weather that hindered production,” said Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s chief economist. “Order flow slowed during the month but remains near historical levels. In fact, the three-month EMS book-to-bill has never been higher. With book-to-bill at 1.43, the EMS industry hit a second record in as many months.” 

EIPC Technical Snapshot: Supply Chain and Material Price Pressures
Published April 26 

EIPC’s seventh Technical Snapshot webinar on April 14 was timely and appropriate. In the context of current supply chain issues and material price pressures facing the PCB industry, particularly in Europe, the EIPC team brought together an outstanding group of experts—each a leading authority in his field—to analyse and comment upon the areas of concern and to respond to questions raised by a capacity audience. 

North American PCB Industry Sales Up 4.7% in March
Published April 26

“March was a strong month for the PCB industry. Record shipments and strong bookings pushed the book-to-bill to near all-time highs,” said Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s chief economist. “Only May 2000, with a book-to-bill of 1.23, was higher.”