* Q1 loss narrows helped by higher commod prices
* Says North American housing market uncertainty remains
April 23 (Reuters) - Canada’s International Forest Products Ltd IFPa.TO posted a narrower first-quarter loss, helped by higher commodity prices in North America, but said considerable uncertainty remains in the housing market.
“The number of homes in the foreclosure process in the U.S. represents a significant overhang of potential inventory and a negative influence on new construction activity,” the manufacturer of wood products said in a statement.
Coupled with the U.S. government’s housing assistance package scheduled to end and the spectre of higher interest rates, there is concern that activity levels could drop in the second half of the year, the company said.
Adding to the challenge is the possibility of the Canadian loonie continuing to rise in value relative to the U.S. greenback and other major international currencies, the company said.
For the first quarter, the Vancouver-based company reported a net loss of C$3.4 million, or 7 Canadian cents a share, compared with a loss of C$13.6 million, or a loss of 29 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.
Excluding a tax valuation allowance, the company posted a loss of C$2.2 million, or 5 Canadian cents a share, compared with a loss of C$10.6 million, or 23 Canadian cents a share in the year-ago period.
Total sales rose 81 percent to C$139.9 million in the quarter.
Shares of the company closed at C$6.15 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)