US Semiconductor Sector
The Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents the top U.S. chipmakers, lauded bipartisan approval in the U.S. Congress to boost funding for both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). REUTERS

Global chip sales in November rose 9 percent to $24.6 billion from a year earlier, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported, but sales of microprocessors for PCs and laptops plunged 14 percent to only $2.91 billion.

The statistics aren’t surprising because the top two U.S. PC makers, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), previously reported sluggish sales for their latest quarters.

On a monthly basis, global sales dipped 1 percent from October, but this was a marked improvement over the five-year average that indicates October sales fell 5 percent.

Overall revenue rose 8 percent over last November, largely because of demand for memory chips designed into smartphones and portable electronics, the Washington, D.C.-based trade group said.

So did average prices for both types of flash memories, NOR and NAND. The average selling price for both types of chips rose to $2.88 from $2.56 a year ago, with prices for the more advanced NAND devices rising to $3.95 from $3.46 a year ago and $3.48 in November.

No surprise: Asia accounted for $14.2 billion, or 58 percent of all demand, with the Americas accounting for only $4.8 billion, or 19.8 percent.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which includes the top U.S. chipmakers such as Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) and Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ:TXN), rose more than 3 percent to 396.41 in Wednesday trading.