As you know, in early October, the US authorities introduced new export restrictions on the supply to China of equipment suitable for the manufacture of a certain range of semiconductor components. According to the latest statistics, purchases of lithography equipment by Chinese customers fell 27% year-on-year following the imposition of US sanctions in October.
According to information BloombergAs of October this year, Chinese companies spent no more than $2.4 billion on importing semiconductor component manufacturing equipment, the lowest in more than two years. It is not easy to work out the impact of the sanctions per se, but October was the most modest month of the year in terms of spending by Chinese companies buying specialized equipment from abroad. At the same time, purchases are down in seven of the ten months of this year recorded so far.
Notably, equipment purchases from the US and Japan fell in October, but the Netherlands doubled the corresponding amount. We recall that this European country is home to the ASML company – the leading manufacturer of lithographic scanners necessary for the manufacture of all kinds of semiconductor components. According to ASML officials, anti-Chinese sanctions will reduce sales by a maximum of 5% in the near future, and in the future even the complete loss of the Chinese market can be compensated by other areas of equipment sales.
Keep in mind that US sanctions also apply to the supply of equipment to China from third countries, but only if technology and components of American origin are used. In order to completely block the flow of supplies to China, the US authorities are now trying to influence not only Japan but also the Netherlands, although in many cases suppliers from these countries will not lose anything towards China, as local customers buy from rather old devices in terms of technology that are not subject to the October sanction restrictions.
In the ten months of this year, imports of semiconductor components to China grew by just 1%, with most of the increase occurring earlier in the year. In the future, lockdowns and the general instability of the macroeconomic situation began to have a negative impact on demand. Although China is the largest importer of semiconductor components, in the future it exports a significant part of them as part of finished electronic devices assembled on its territory.