I am trying very hard not to trot out the tired and over-used
expressions about a “light at the end of the tunnelor “green shoots of recovery”. Sorry, I just used both!
However I do dare to be a bit more optimistic, in this first issue of WBPI for 2010, about the global economic climate. I believe there are signs that the worst may be behind us in many countries, though some have a lot further to go than others – notably the UK and Greece which are both starting from very weak

In the case of the UK, it is Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the real architect of most of the country’s comparatively bad
economic news, who provides that weak position. The general election some time in mid-2010 will be interesting, I think.
A look at our news pages in this issue shows a notable absence of bad news, while every issue in 2009 seemed to carry stories of mill closures, declining consumption and beleaguered balance sheets.
On the contrary, this issue’s news pages report several new orders for machinery, the purchase and reopening of mills from companies verging on collapse, investment in the takeover of companies, notably of Shelman of Greece by fellow wood
products company Alfa Wood, and a general feeling that
companies are beginning to stop looking inward and to plan for a better future.
In his analysis of the industry in North America (p52), Bernard Fuller predicts a slow but evident recovery in home building and therefore panel product markets.
All this is good news, which should be celebrated, although nobody is predicting a rapid or dramatic recovery. That is probably just as well as a rapid recovery from such a weak position could lead to a double-dip in the global economy.
China seems to have weathered the economic storm relatively well and this year’s biennial WM Fair, to be held in Beijing in March, will provide an interesting opportunity to see how the
market is responding.
It will also mark the launch of another Chinese language edition of WBPI, in cooperation with China Wood Based Panels magazine.
The WBPI Buyers Guide, launched in 2009, is now an
established and valuable resource for the industry. I strongly
recommend that you access this database through our website, www.wbpionline.com, and see for yourself all the comprehensive listings and information it has to offer.