Dutch chip equipment maker ASML increased its sales outlook on Thursday thanks to improving operations in some chip markets.

ASML, the world's largest maker of semiconductor lithography machines which map out electronic circuits on silicon wafers, said in a statement it expected net sales above 500 million euros in both the third and fourth quarters this year.

It had previously said in July it expected third-quarter net sales of around 450 million euros.

ASML, which competes with Japan's Nikon Corp and Canon Inc, said the better outlook resulted from short- and mid-term needs in the DRAM memory and logic segments.

Orders for ASML's new systems are an important indicator of forward demand for its customers, such as top chipmaker Intel Corp and top contract chip company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

ASML's raised outlook adds to earlier indications that the overall semiconductor industry would begin recovering in the latter half of 2009. Intel in late August raised its outlook for third-quarter revenue, buoying its shares and the entire sector.

 (Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by David Holmes)