Did Covid-19 flatten foundries' growth curves in April?

May 08, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Did Covid-19 flatten foundries' growth curves in April?
Sales at foundries TSMC and UMC in April both grew compared with the same month a year before but at a slower pace than in March; this could be a first sign of an impending slowdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The situation is made more complex by the fact that April 2019 represented that start of a recovery from a weak first quarter in foundry sales in 2019. As such it would be expected for year-on-year growth to taper down, even without the impact of Covid-19.

The two Taiwanese foundries often taken as a forward indicator for the semiconductor industry so the relative strength of the sales will provide some hope that a delayed crash can provide for a softer landing.

In April 2020 TSMC's sales were approximately NT$96.00 billion (about $3.2 billion), a decrease of 15.4 percent from March 2020 and an increase of 28.5 percent from April 2019. In March TSMC's sales revenue had been 42 percent higher than the same month a year before.

For the first four months of 2020 TSMC's sales revenue was NT$406.60 billion (about US$13.6 billion), an increase of 38.6 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

At smaller rival United Microelectonics Corp. April sales were NT$15.06 billion (about $503 million). This was up sequentially 3.4 percent and up 28.5 percent year-on-year. UMC's annual growth in April was also down compared with the March-to-March comparison where it was up 41.1 percent.

For the first third of 2020 UMC's sales revenue stands at NT$57,327 billion (about $1.9 billion), up 28.3 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

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