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PCB material prices showing signs of stabilization

        PCB material prices thus far in the fourth quarter have decreased at a slower pace than in the prior two quarters, a sign prices could be stabilizing around the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

      Prices for fiber glass fabric, copper clad laminates (CCL) and other related materials used to manufacture PCBs are expected to soon bottom out and begin recovering as buyers anticipate a pick-up in procurement prior to the Lunar New Year in late January 2012, the sources indicated.

      Affected by weakened end-market demand, prices for electronic-grade fiber glass products have slid since March with yarns and fabrics falling 15% and 40%, respectively, the sources said. Quotes for mainstream 7628-size fabric, for instance, have dropped to US$0.60-0,70 from their previous high level of US$1.20, the sources observed. Meanwhile, prices for G75 fiber glass yarn have also decreased to US$1.60-1.70, down significantly from as high as US$2 reached earlier in the year, the sources said.

      Along with falling glass fabric quotes, prices for CCLs have declined since the second quarter to reflect dwindling orders from PCB customers, the sources pointed out. Strengthening copper prices have also brought pressure on CCL producers as demand is too low to negotiate new prices, the sources added.

     However, inventories in the PCB supply chain are now at lean levels, the sources believe. There is a good chance CCL and other material prices could start recovering later in the fourth quarter or early 2012 as demand picks up and availability becomes tighter, the sources indicated.

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