The volume of excess chips is likely to triple in the final three months of this year because demand is falling at a much faster pace than anticipated, analyst iSuppli has said.
"This [inventory] rise is having a deleterious impact on semiconductor pricing, revenue and profitability, and could delay the semiconductor industry's recovery from the current downturn - even when demand rebounds," the market research firm said in a statement.
iSuppli predicts the amount of excess semiconductors in the electronics supply chain could balloon to more than $10.4 billion (£6.6 billion) by the end of the fourth quarter, up from $3.8 billion at the end of the third quarter.
By comparison, excess inventory at the beginning of the dot-com bust was $13.4 billion, iSuppli said.
iSuppli issued a red alert on semiconductor inventory levels due to the fourth quarter rise, a first for the company.
The inventory report came on the same day Gartner revealed a dour forecast for semiconductor industry revenue next year. The researcher expects global chip revenue to decline 16.3 percent year-over-year in 2009 to $219.2 billion. Last week, Gartner lowered its chip industry revenue forecast for this year to a 4.4 percent drop.
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