The global PCB supply chain

Material shortage and price increase



Copper Clad Laminate e1623337620381 - The global PCB supply chain

  • Increased global copper demand
  • Increasing demand for copper foil
  • Low inventories
  • Capacity shortages
  • Shift in production processes
  • Significant shortages expected by 2030

Glass fiber

PCB supply chain glass fiber - The global PCB supply chain

  • Increasing demand (wind turbines, etc.)
  • Supply shortages for glass yarn and glass fabric
  • Rising prices in the 2nd half of 2020 by more than 20%.
  • Further increases to follow in 2021.

Epoxy resin

PCB supply chain epoxy resin - The global PCB supply chain

  • The explosion of two manufacturing factories in China and Korea.
  • Daily price increases

Laminate manufacturer

PCB supply chain laminate manufacturers - The global PCB supply chain

  • Confronted with substantial price increases for glass fabric, resin, and copper.
  • Longer delivery times due to production stops in the supply chain.



Material requirements exceed availability by approx. 50%.

  • Shortages are forecast to continue until at least the end of Q2 202.

Base material prices have doubled in the period from June 2020 to March 2021.

  • For thicker laminates (0.6 mm+/2Oz+) price increase is even more extreme.
  • The next price increase is expected in early April.

Limited monthly quotas.

  • Limited quotas for PCB manufacturers lead to production stops.
  • First insolvencies of individual manufacturers due to production stoppages.

Freight Capacities

Sea freight

  • Container shortage.
  • Shipments are partly on call and on a daily basis.
  • Restrictions caused by Corona are still affecting handling processes worldwide.
  • Increase in ocean freight rates in 2021, which will continue until supply chains are stabilized again and consumer behavior has largely normalized.

Air freight

  • Reduced air traffic = less freight space.
  • >50% of cargo volume is normally handled by passenger aircraft but these are being canceled due to Covid 19.
  • Flights down more than 90% in Q2 2020.
  • 66% of flight cancellations in the second half of 2020.
  • Costs increased by a factor of three to four.

Rail freight

  • The alternative solution to the ocean and air freight.
  • In terms of transportation costs, delivery times, and container capacity, rail freight can be classified between ocean freight and air freight.
  • More sustainable option for freight transportation.


Economic Development

High expectations for the Chinese economy

  • Fast economic recovery.
  • High consumption of raw materials for China (e.g. for 5G, new chip generations, etc.).
  • Rising exports, which compensate for the global lack of capacity due to Covid 19 (export boom).

The slight economic upturn in Europe

  • Rising customer demand.
  • Projects postponed due to Covid 19 are resumed.

The intensified situation in the supply chain

  • Panic buying due to market uncertainty regarding material availability and resulting price development.
  • Companies are filling their inventories and reserving capacities.



Material shortages continue to increase

Lead times are extended

Base material costs continue to rise

Freight capacities remain tight

Print circuit board gold - The global PCB supply chain

Recommended Actions

Plan your production with more lead time: the earlier the order, the better.

Create as accurate a forecast as possible at the earliest possible date.

Check whether alternative materials from other base material manufacturers with the same properties could be useful for you

Plan a logistics buffer of at least 5 working days.


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