Chip equipment orders declined for the third straight month in August and could slip further in coming months. Shipments declined for the first time since June 2003, SEMI reported, and the book-to-bill ratio of orders to shipments fell to 1.0, reaching parity for the first time since Sept. 2003. However, SEMI believes the industry is on track to exceed our overall worldwide forecast projection of $36 bln this year. Orders and shipments remain above $1.5 bln each. That’s double the lows of 2001-2003, but well below the 2000 peak of $2.5-$3 bln.