Chip sales rise, reflect strong demand

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Worldwide sales of semiconductors increased significantly in the first quarter, reflecting the strength of economic recovery that's driving demand for a broad range of chip products, an industry trade group said Monday.

Semiconductor sales rose to US$48.8 billion in the quarter ended 31 March, compared to US$36.4 billion for the same period a year ago, the Semiconductor Industry Association said. Sales were also slightly higher than the fourth quarter's US$48.1 billion.

SIA noted that the first quarter of the year was normally a seasonally weak quarter for semiconductor sales, while the fourth quarter was usually strong. The industry group believed semiconductor sales could exceed 20 percent for the year, compared to 2003.

"One of the leading drivers of sales growth was continued growth in corporate spending on information technology products," SIA president George Scalise said in a statement. "Corporate spending on IT software and hardware increased by 11.5 percent in the first quarter, the fourth successive quarter of strong growth and the third straight quarter of double-digit growth."

For March, semiconductor sales were up 32.3 percent to 16.28 billion from US$12.3 billion for same period last year. Sales were 4.4 percent higher than in February, and were up sequentially for all geographic regions.

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