Wednesday, September 23

Intel’s departure from WSTS to impact semiconductor sector


KUCHING: With Intel announcing it’s departure as a member of the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) beginning 2012, there are concerns over the potential distortion of semiconductor chips sales worldwide.

According to RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd (RHB Research) in its research report yesterday, a distortion was possible given that Intel is the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, accounting for around 80 per cent of the global microprocessor (MPU) market.

“However, global chip sales numbers released by SIA (Semiconductor Industry Association) would still be relevant as an indicator of the sector’s health,” highlighted RHB Research.

“Furthermore, the non-MPU data is more applicable to local semiconductor players.”

The research house added that Intel accounted for around 15 per cent of the overall semiconductor market as of 2011.

Given the lagging nature of the data release, RHB Research believed more emphasis should be placed on peers’ guidance as a yardstick for the industry outlook, which  includes front-end manufacturers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and back-end outsourcing peers like Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) to get a more wholesome view of the sector.

“Also, equipment orders from SEMI gives a indication on confidence levels of the manufacturers. For example, higher capex may indicate anticipation of stronger demand ahead,” it said.

However, despite the uncertainty in the end market demand for semiconductors amidst the current global economic situation, the research firm saw positive signs such as rising optimism from chip players recently.

“This supports our view that the industry could be at (or near to passing) its worst point. We reiterate our neutral call on the sector, with a positive bias.,” concluded RHB Research.