Silicon wafer shipments fall sharply

Industry body SEMI said that worldwide shipments of silicon wafers fell sharply during the first quarter of this year.

According to its figures, silicon wafer area shipments were 940 million square inches, a 34 percent decrease from the 1,428 million square inches that shipped in the fourth quarter of 2008.

And if you compare the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2008, the figures are even more alarming. 2,163 million square inches shipped in Q1 2008, that’s 57 percent down.

But there is some hope on the horizon. January and February were bad but SEMI’s chairman Nobuo Katsuoka reckons they’ve bottomed out. The global meltdown is blamed for the shortfall.

SEMI’s figures do not include silicon used in solar applications, but apply to polished silicon wafers including virgin test wafers, epitaxial silicon wafers, and non-polished silicon wafers shipped by manufacturers to their customers.

Clearly the semiconductor market, like the Internet, is not going to go away.