Global semiconductor sales rose 9.4 per cent in May, powered by demand for mobile phones and the latest consumer electronic devices, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

The SIA said sales totalled $19.7bn, up from $18.1bn in May 2005. Sales were up by 0.7 per cent from April’s $19.6bn. “Worldwide sales of semiconductors in May continued to reflect generally favourable worldwide economic conditions,” said George Scalise, SIA president. “Sales of cell phones and other consumer electronics products once again were the principal contributors to growth.”

Sales of analogue chips grew 21.5 per cent compared with a year ago, while digital signal processor sales were up 13.7 per cent. Both are major components of mobile phones.

Mr Scalise added that strong growth in sales of NOR flash memory products and optoelectronic devices were indicators of continued growth in sales of digital cameras and mobile phones.

There was mixed news for the personal computer industry. While unit sales of PCs were running ahead of expectations, helping to achieve 13.7 per cent year-on-year growth in sales of D-Ram memory chips, sales of PC chips were down 2 per cent. This reflected “robust competition and some inventory corrections”, the SIA said.

“Consumers continue to benefit from competition, as the average selling price for a notebook computer has fallen below $1,000 for the first time,” Mr Scalise said.

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