Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, said its sales for January fell to a six-month low, with market analysts attributing the fall to the slow season effect.
TSMC said in a statement that it posted NT$79.74 billion (US$2.71 billion) in consolidated sales in January, down 11.3 percent from a month earlier, but up 4.1 percent from a year earlier.
The January revenue was the lowest level since July 2017, when sales stood at NT$71.61 billion, according to data compiled by TSMC.
The latest sales data echoes TSMC's previous estimate that its sales for the first quarter would be affected by the slow season effect, in particular with demand for mobile devices on the decline.
The chipmaker said the slow season effect is expected to send shipments of chips made on its advanced 10 nanometer process lower. The 10nm process is TSMC's latest technology to enter commercial production.
Analysts said the number of working days in February will be reduced due to the six-day Lunar New Year holiday that will begin Feb. 15, so sales for the month are expected to continue to fall before a rebound in March.
In an investor conference held in mid-January, TSMC gave its guidance for the first quarter, saying that its consolidated sales are expected to range between US$8.4 billion and US$8.5 billion, down about 8 percent from a quarter earlier.
TSMC Chairman Morris Chang has said he expects sales for 2018 will grow 10 percent-15 percent from a year earlier on the back of solid demand for high-performance computing devices and applications used in the Internet of Things and automotive electronics.
Meanwhile, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), a smaller rival of TSMC, said its consolidated sales for January grew 23.5 percent from a month earlier to NT$13.18 billion, and analysts said the increase largely resulted from a relatively low comparison base in December.
Analysts said UMC also benefited from orders placed by PC vendors in January. The January figure was also up 4.14 percent from a year earlier.
TSMC and UMC released their sales data after the local equity market closed Friday. TSMC shares fell 2.52 percent to close at NT$232.50, and UMC shares ended down 0.71 percent at NT$14.05.
Source: Focus Taiwan