The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has said worldwide sales of semiconductors rose by 5.4 percent in May.

In a report released today, the SIA said worldwide sales of semiconductors rose to $16.5bn in May, an increase of 5.4 percent from April when sales were just $15.6bn.

President of the SIA, George Scalise, said that the figures for May reflect the third consecutive month of sequential growth for the industry.

He added, “The sequential monthly increases lead us to be cautiously optimistic about a return to normal seasonal patterns for the industry going forward.”

He noted that as semiconductors become ever-more pervasive in a growing array of products, the global microchip industry increasingly mirrors the performance of the overall economy.

“As consumer confidence returns and the economy resumes growth, we expect the industry to reflect those patterns,” he said.

Despite the positive figures, the gravity of the financial crisis is ever-present, as sales in May 2009 were 23.2 percent lower than in May 2008, when sales were $21.5bn.

Sales of electronics gases - used in semiconductor manufacturing - have taken a hit as a result of the downturn in sales of chip products like mobile phones and computers.

Recovery in the semiconductor industry should mean a gradual increase in sales of electronics gases, which, in time, will make the industrial gas companies’ financial results look much healthier.