Although PC sales remain weak, the launch of several new smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, helped chip sales bounce back. Prices for memory chips have also gone up, contributing to the overall figures.
However, looking at the whole year, Carnegie expects semicon sales to fall one percent. May seems to have been an exception, as sales were boosted by external factors and seasonal trends. Korean and Taiwanese chip exports jumped in May, but much of the rise in Korea was attributed to rising prices for memory chips.
Smartphone exports were also up, although Apple’s numbers did not improve as the iPhone 5 is ageing and it’s due to be replaced soon. The Chinese handset market was up as well, and the Q2 guidance is looking strong as well.
However, US imports were weak in March and April, indicating that the PC market will remain volatile. There were some exceptions. Imports of US telecom equipment were up, while imports of computer accessories were down.
As a result, US retail sales in tech categories did not show much growth and they appear to have been hit by internet sales. The same pattern is visible in parts of Europe.