The world's leading chip-maker Intel today announced revenue for 2000 of $33.7 billion, up 15 per cent from 1999 – but warned that first-quarter earnings for 2001 will be down 15 per cent on its last quarter because of "economic slowdown".

The 2000 results outstripped the company's lowered expectations, which were dampened by flagging personal-computer sales. Intel said its fourth-quarter sales rose 6 per cent to $8.70 billion, from $8.21 billion a year ago.

Intel is a key indicator in helping the industry gauge where high-tech spending is heading under the shadow of a slowing US economy.

"This was a year of record annual revenue and earnings, yet slowing economic conditions impacted fourth-quarter growth and are causing near-term uncertainty," said Craig Barrett, Intel president and chief executive officer.

Barrett added: "We are confident in our business strategy and competitive position. Our financial strength enables us to aggressively increase our current investments in capital and R&D spending to ensure future leadership and readiness with 0.13-micron process manufacturing, 300mm technology and a strong product portfolio."