A sudden upturn in global sales of information and communications technology (ICT) goods in May and June suggests the ICT industry may have reached a turning point and be on the road to recovery, according to a new OECD report.
Most countries posted positive month-on-month production growth in May and June and inventories have been run down sharply after historically rapid build-ups. Billings for semiconductor makers, a bellwether for the ICT industry, are rebounding sharply after a severe collapse in orders reminiscent of the 2001-2002 dotcom bust. Asian ICT exports are also growing again month-to-month: Korean producers have been helped by a weaker currency, with production in May down only 3% on the previous year, and Chinese ICT production, which has remained remarkably resilient despite exports dropping by over 20%, grew at nearly 3% year-on-year in May.
The economic crisis has battered the ICT industry over the past year, the report says. Production plunged by as much as 40% on an annual basis in Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and other Asian economies in early 2009 as exports collapsed (see Figure).
Growth in monthly production in ICT goods
Year-on-year on percentage change, index, seasonally adjusted. 3-month moving average
ICT production levels in May and June still remain down significantly from 2008 in most countries as the recent uptick has not countered the full year slide. The production decline at US and European manufacturers appears to have bottomed out, but a significant rebound is not yet underway. In the US, for example, production in June was down 15% year-on-year but stable from the previous month, and Germany had also bottomed out but is down around 20%.
For further information, contact Graham Vickery, OECD, Information, Communications and Consumer Policy Division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 93 87). See also the biennial OECD Information Technology Outlook: www.oecd.org/sti/ito