Microprocessor sales were bouyant in March

The Semiconductor Industry Association reckons chips sales rose 5.6 per cent in March over February, notching up revenue of some $23.1 billion.

The chip counter's Global Sales Report estimates that first quarter sales for 2010 raked in some $69.2 billion compared to $43.7 billion for Q1 2009.

The figures compare favourably with the same period a year ago when the recession hit sales and revenue for the month of March 2009 was pegged at a paltry $14.6 billion, the outfit said.

All in all it's good news for chip makers who can look forward to a decent year. In a statement, SIA President George Scalise said: "While we expect that 2010 sales will continue to be strong, the year-on-year growth rate will moderate going forward, reflecting the industry recoverythat began in the second half of 2009."

The SIA says that it is "cautiously optimistic" that global sales will show double-digit growth by the end of the year.

The figures for March are the second highest the SIA has seen, beaten only by record sales posted way back in November 2007.

Growth in China, naturally enough, boosted the figures, which also got a shot in the arm from growing demand in developing economies.

Year-on-year growth was greatest in the Asia-Pacific region, where sales climbed 72 per cent. In the Americas sales were up 48 per cent. Europe enjoyed 42 per cent growth with Japan seeing a point more at 43 per cent.