UK Electronics Production Year-end Stats and January 2017 PCB Production Stats - 2016 year-end Electronics production output remained strong while January 2017 PCB production remains buoyant.
Electronics output continued to improve through to the end of 2016. Electronics production value in December was up 9% on the previous month and up 8% compared with December 2015. For the whole year, the value of electronics production in the UK resulted in 3.7% growth in output for the export market and 1.3% growth in output for the domestic market. Overall growth in 2016 was 2.55% compared with 2015.
For PCB fabricators in the techUK group, the January B2B ratio declined to 0.95. A relatively strong B2B of 1.07 for the export market was not enough to pull up the UK market B2B of 0.91. However, it should be noted that while the total order book for January was up more than 3% compared with January 2016, the total billings were up more than 10%.
In January export sales of PCBs declined slightly compared with December 2016 and sales into the UK recovered strongly after the dip in December. The sales and order book data also includes product which is imported by the fabricators for resale. If these resales are excluded then the trend in actual production of PCBs in the was 2.5% lower than in 2015. This continues the trend of UK PCB production declining even in a growth market. The rebound in January 2017 imitates almost exactly the rebound in January 2016.
UK PCB manufacturers continue to be put at a disadvantage over importers of finished PCBs, which attract zero tariff. This is against the backdrop of material costs rising sharply and forecasted shortages in copper foil through 2017. The German industry is also starting action to seek a reduction in tariffs to aid EU-based manufacturing. Meanwhile, companies in China are feeling the pinch more than here in the UK since they already operate on wafer-thin margins. Follow this link for more information on this and the call for tariff removal on PCB materials.