2010 opens with tight fab capacity

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Unexpected demand for semiconductor chips at the end of this year means that 2010 will herald the beginning of tight fab capacity and little excess stock.

That's according to Future Horizons, which warns in its December report that device lead times "are starting to feel the pinch".

The good news for the semi industry is that there's likely to be a 20 percent or more spurt of growth during next year. It could be even more than that, warns Malcom Penn, chief analyst at the company.

However, while the global economic continues to be fragile, Future Horizons thinks that the relationship between global economic growth and the semiconductor market "is statistically very week".

"No chip market bubble preceded the 2009 downturn," said Penn. "We remain absolutely convinced that the industry has lulled itself into a false sense of security, which will hold for the first half of 2010 due to the normal first half year seasonal slowdown, only to collapse with a vengeance under the second half-year's strength, by which time it will be impossible to do anything about it. Only another major economic crisis can now derail the market recoverl in the absence of such a calamity, the baseline numbers have never looked as strong."

Future Horizons is here.

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