Although UK demand for OSB was described this week as "flat to slightly rising", prices have suffered a decline of late – attributed in some quarters to increased availability resulting from higher import volumes. Current price levels were "unsustainable", said a producer. "This isn’t the price of the future."

According to a supplier of Continentalmade OSB, his business was encountering "no problems" in finding buyers for the larger volumes it was now bringing into the UK. From all sources, the UK upped its imports of OSB by almost 38% to 21,000m³ in January when compared to the opening month of last year. Imports amounted to 226,000m³ in 2013 as a whole versus 194,000m³ in 2012.

More positive news surrounding the UK construction sector was "helping to make people more bullish", said one contact, "and I don’t think we have yet seen the impact of it."

Improved weather over the coming months could provide the spur for a significant OSB consumption increase, he added.

Another OSB contact agreed that construction demand was "getting stronger".

Taking a more negative tack, several contacts expressed renewed concern that talk of additions to OSB production capacity in the UK and mainland Europe would serve to keep prices in check. "People are looking ahead and worrying whether supply will override demand," said one.