Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) on Thursday reported its first month-to-month sales decline since the chip industry bottomed out in February.
The world's largest contract chip maker posted consolidated monthly sales of NT$29.83 billion (US$913.8 million) in August, down 4.3 percent compared to July and down 6.4 percent compared to August of last year. The month-to-month decline, albeit small, was the first since chip sales among contract chip makers bottomed out in February.
TSMC's sales were just NT$12.18 billion in February, down 58.9 percent from the same time a year earlier, as the global recession took hold.
Sales at many chip makers have rebounded strongly since early this year. Intel, the world's largest chip maker, and Texas Instruments have both recently revised their quarterly financial guidance upwards due to stronger-than-expected demand.
"This is a very hard year to predict due to the global recession," said Kenneth Lee, chip industry analyst at Fubon Securities Investment Services in Taipei.
TSMC was the only contract chip maker that reported a month-on-month decline in sales growth in August, he noted, "but the company had a very good July so I expect sales will still meet or exceed guidance for the third quarter."
He said monthly sales growth may have topped out for this year and that TSMC may see smaller increases and decreases in monthly sales as the year progresses.
United Microelectronics (UMC), the world's second-largest contract chip maker, reported sales of NT$9.06 billion in August, up 11 percent year-on-year but only slightly higher than the NT$8.81 billion in sales the company posted in July.