Chip sales rose 48.8% in December

Global sales of chip-making equipment rose 48.8% in December from the previous month to $2.59 bln, an industry group said Monday. The December figure was up 38.7% from a year earlier, marking the fifth straight month of YTY rises, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) said in a preliminary release. The volatile data is largely seasonal, but the December figure was the biggest since April 2001, when the industry racked up $2.87 bln in sales as the IT bubble was drawing to a close. Global sales of chip-making equipment totaled $22.1 bln in calendar 2003, up 11.9% from the previous year.