Global expenditures on semiconductor production equipment are forecast to be $34.6 billion this year, down 8.5% from last year's $37.8 billion, according to Gartner. The market research firm sees overall capital expenditures falling 6.8% this year, with a 14.1% increase forecast for 2014 and a 13.8% bump in capex for 2015. "Weak semiconductor market conditions that continued into the first quarter of 2013 generated downward pressure on new equipment purchases," Gartner's Dean Freeman said. "However, semiconductor equipment quarterly revenue is beginning to improve, and positive movement in the book-to-bill ratio indicated that spending for equipment will pick up in the remainder of 2013."

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