That show will be closely followed by the major biennial event for the interiors and decorative surfacing sector, Interzum, in Cologne (May 13-16). This is unusual, because Interzum normally precedes Ligna, rather than coming after it.

Ligna seems set to be attended by a good number of exhibitors from around the world and the organisers are expecting a similarly good number of visitors, from many countries.

There are always new innovations in machinery for visitors to see, because many exhibitors hold back on launching new products until Ligna in a similar way to the automotive industry, where manufacturers tend to favour a particular exhibition to launch a new model.

Of course there is more to making panels than just machinery and visitors will also be able to see the latest offerings from resin, additive and other chemical suppliers, as well as from other general service providers.

I am pleased to say that there are several reasons to be cheerful in the pages of this issue.

The most significant of these is that, for the first time since 2008, the North American OSB industry is in very upbeat mood, with firm plans to re-open mothballed capacity – and to complete stalled projects for new capacity – with effect from 2013. The reason? Positive figures on US housebuilding growth indicate steadily increasing demand for OSB in the coming years and there is now talk of a looming shortage in supply.

In his analysis of the economic outlook for North America generally, Bernard Fuller suggests that, on current evidence, OSB and structural plywood markets are set to experience strong pricing and increased profitability, while in time, MDF and particleboard markets will also benefit from the upturn in housebuilding.

Meanwhile, in western Europe, OSB producers continue to report strong demand and improving prices, while in the east, a lot of new capacity is planned to come onstream in the next two or three years.

In the news pages there is also some good news, with several reports of positive financial outcomes for 2012 among the machinery suppliers – and optimism for the next year at least.

Of course, the eurozone countries remain a source of serious concern and makers of particleboard and MDF there have little reason to be cheerful at the present time, while the South East Asian market is similarly downbeat.

However, I for one, am looking forward to a cheerful, and positive, Ligna 2013!