US-based timber and wood products giant Boise Cascade warned this week that it expects to report a bigger than anticipated first quarter loss. It also says it is looking to shed 700 jobs.

Chairman George Harad said that the company is expecting to make a loss of between 28 and 38 cents per share for the quarter.

“Continued weak markets and global political uncertainty make the timing of any sustained recovery in our busiiness very unclear,” he said. “Going forward we will carefullly monitor our situation and if we have to take further steps to conserve cash and improve operating income, we will.”

Boise Cascade said that the proposed layoffs amount to 3% of its workforce. They will take place over the next couple of months and the severance costs will be between $8 million and $10 million.

The company has also imposed a wage and hiring freeze and will restrict capital spenidng this year to $245 million.

Besides a sluggish US economy, Mr Harad attributed the company’s problems to high pension and energy costs.

Last year Boise Cascade made a loss of just under $2 million on sales of $7.4 billion.