Why Chip Sales Were Booming in August

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Sales of semiconductors rose to $25.87 billion in August, up 6.4% year-over-year for the month, representing the industry’s largest annual growth since March 2011. Sales rose 1.3% month-over-month.

The numbers are compiled by Taiwan-based World Semiconductor Trade Statistics and were reported Friday morning by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

August 2013 sales compared with August 2012 sales rose 23.3% in the Americas, 7.6% in Asia Pacific and 5% in Europe. Only Japan posted a drop — down 16.4%, largely due to the falling value of the yen.

Sales were higher in all regions on a three-month moving average basis. In the Americas, three-month June-July-August sales were up 11.8%. Sales rose in Japan by 10.8%, by 2.4% in Europe and by 1.9% in Asia.

SIA’s CEO said, “Strong demand for memory products has driven sales in recent months, but sales were also up in August among non-memory products, demonstrating the breadth of the semiconductor market’s strength.”

We discussed last week the rise in demand for memory products, particularly for mobile devices. Memory chip makers like Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are riding the wave.

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of memory chips, is expected to see profits rise by a third in the current fiscal year. Hynix is expected to be back at full production next month after a fire at its plant in Wuxi, China, in early September.

And Micron has been booming for the past 12 months. The company’s shares posted a new 52-week high of $18.18 Friday morning. The 52-week low is $5.16.