Chip sales in March likely blossomed -

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) are shortly to be released and the indications are looking good.

According to Bruce Diesen, from Carnegie Securities Research, he expects 2010 chip sales to rise by 15 percent. He thinks PC, memory and auto chips are likely to see the most growth, while handset chips are flatter.

He said that because of tight capacity, memory chip prices are strong, boosted by increased sales of smartphones and Windows 7.

March saw a jump in car production and more chips are used in Europe per car than elsewhere.

Chinese PC production was strong in March, and handset exports rose strongly during the month, with Mediatek indicating that there will be 450 million or more handsets using its technology this year.

Defence spending was also strong in March, and this is a growing area for semiconductor sales. Most tech companies think there will be shortages of components in Q2 than in calendar Q1, said Diesen.

TSMC is already at 100 percent capacity and it's expected that UMC will go from 88 percent in Q1 to the high 90s this quarter. That will affect a number of companies including Xilinx, Altera, Qualcomm and Mediatek.