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Wafer fab spending to recover in 2014

Posted: 20 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wafer fab? equipment? logic production? DRAM? NAND?

Wafer fab spending worldwide will reach $29.9 billion at the close of 2012, dropping 17.4 per cent from last year's $36.2 billion, The market is expected to recover in 2014 with wafer fab equipment spending projected to dip further by 9.7 per cent in 2013 down to $27 billion, this according to Gartner's latest industry forecast.

"Demand for new equipment for logic production will soften as yields improve, leading to declining shipment volumes as the industry heads into 2013," Bob Johnson, Gartner research vice president, said in a statement.

Wafer fab manufacturing capacity utilisation is a key indicator for the acceleration and deceleration of spending plans. Gartner predicts that utilisation will decline below 80 per cent by the end of 2012 before slowly increasing to about 85 per cent by the end of 2013.

"High inventories, combined with overall market weakness, will continue to depress utilisation rates into the first half of 2013," said Johnson.

Leading-edge utilisation declined to the mid-80-per cent range by the second half of 2012 and will move into the low-90-per cent range by the end of 2013. Typically 90 per cent is seen as a trigger point for increased wafer fab spending. Memory will continue to be weak through 2013, with maintenance-level investments for DRAM and a slightly down NAND market until supply and demand are in balance, Gartner forecasts. Meanwhile 2014 should begin a growth cycle that is expected to last through 2016.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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