SAN FRANCISCO — Billings among North American manufacturers of semiconductor production equipment posted a year-over-year decline last month for the first time in two years as the fab tool market continues to cool after two years of white-hot growth.

The three-month rolling average of billings for North American chip equipment firms slipped to $1.94 billion in November, down 4.2% compared to October and down 5.3% compared to November 2017, according to the SEMI trade association.

Ajit Manocha
Ajit Manocha

“For the first time in over two years, billings of North American equipment manufacturers are down relative to the same month the year before,” said Ajit Manocha, president and CEO of SEMI, in a press statement. “After reaching historical revenues earlier this year, billings activity is decelerating in line with weaker growth expectations for 2019.”

November marked the first time that fab tool billings declined on a year-over-year basis since May 2016.

Despite slowing growth in recent months, global sales of semiconductor equipment are expected to set an all-time high for the second-straight year in 2018. SEMI recently forecast that global semiconductor equipment sales would grow 9.7% this year to reach $62.1 billion before declining by 4% in 2019. The trade association also projected that tool sales would bounce back to grow more than 20% in 2020 to reach $71.9 billion.

November 2018 Semiconductor Equipment Billings in Billions of Dollars