VANCOUVER - West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (WFT.TO) says earnings dropped significantly in the last quarter as the company felt the impact of lower production and demand.

The company says it lost $5 million or seven cents per share in the quarter ending March 31, compared with earnings of $197 million or $2.53 per share for the same period last year.

Adjusted earnings were $22 million or 32 cents per share for the quarter, compared with $229 million or $2.96 a share for the first quarter last year.

Analysts had expected adjusted earnings $36.3 million or 56 cents per share according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The company says earnings were hit by lower demand in the key spruce-pine-fir sector as U.S. housing starts lagged because of wet weather across major construction markets.

B.C. producers including West Fraser have announced several rounds of production curtailments as they grapple with limited wood fibre supply in the province and depressed demand.