Industry group says 2011 chip sales inched higher

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Worldwide sales of semiconductors grew 0.4 percent in 2011, despite a tough time for the sector due to natural disasters and the weak economy, according to a report released Monday by an industry group.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said global chip sales totaled $299.5 billion last year. That’s up from $298.3 billion in 2010.

Fourth-quarter sales, meanwhile, declined 5.3 percent from a year earlier, to $71.5 billion. December chip sales totaled $23.8 billion, a decline of 5.5 percent from November, SIA said.

“Between the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand and the overall impact of a weak global economy, 2011 presented a number of major challenges for the semiconductor industry,” said SIA President, Brian Toohey, in a statement. “Despite these setbacks the industry showed resiliency and posted year on year growth with record-breaking revenues for 2011.”

The association expects the industry see further recovery this year, helped by growing demand across a broad range of markets.

Shares of chip maker Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of microprocessors ? the “brains” of computers ? fell 2 cents to close at $26.72 on Monday. Shares of smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. fell 16 cents to close at $6.92.