Italy

Tratto da:

The Economist

Data di pubblicazione: 16/02/1924

Italy

«The Economist», 16 febbraio 1924, pp. 310-311

 

 

 

FOREIGN TRADE. – From July 1, 1921, at which date the statistical method of valuing goods imported and exported was changed, to November, 1923, the figures are as follows (in millions of lire, precious metals ex­cluded):

 

 

 

Imports

 

Exports

Excess of Imports

Over Exports

1921 July to December

6,645.7

3,939.0

2,706.7

1922 Whole year

15.764.5

9,302.2

6,462.3

1923 January to November

15,365.7

9,454.1

5,911.6

 

 

For the whole of 1923 the import balance will be about the same as in the preceding years.

 

 

CROPS. – Agricultural results were very good. Whereas the average wheat crop was 4,989,600 tons in 1909-13, and 4,831,700 tons in 1919-23, the 1923 crop reached 6,070,000 tons. The yield per hectare was 13.1 quintals, the highest since 1909, and probably since 1860. Grapes were also much better. In the old provinces the yield was 81.7 million quintals, against an average of 59.8 in 1910-21 and 54.4 in 1922; in the new Venetian provinces 2.2 millions, against 1.8 and 1.9 re­spectively in 1921 and 1922.

 

 

INDUSTRY. – The silk industry benefited from a good crop of cocoons, amounting to 58,000 tons, against 43,500 in 1922, 42,900 in 1921, and 41,200 in 1920. The total value of silk products, which may be put at 600-650 millions lire before 1914, increased to 2,800-3000 millions lire in the financial year 1922-23. Cotton was fairly active. The consumption of raw cotton, which was 909 thousand bales yearly in 1911-13, and decreased to 770 thousand in the cotton year 1919-20, reached 893 thousand in 1922-23. The number of bales consumed in 1922-23 per 1,000 spindles was 196, against 172 in 1912-13. The Italian cotton industry may be estimated to have added, in 1922-23, a value of over 3,000 million lire to raw cotton and materials imported and used, against 420 millions in 1909-13. The woollen industry works mostly for the home market, and the value of the total output (40,000 tons in 1923, against 30,000 tons in 1913) may be estimated at 1,500 million lire. Iron and steel had an indifferent year, but not more so than in 1922. A marked decrease has been registered in the number and importance of strikes. For the years ending October 31, 1921, 1922, and 1923, the number of strikes was 1,223,680 and 156 respectively, and of days lost 8,210,811, 7,336,393, and 246,975 respectively. The number of unemployed, 391,974 on January 31, 1923, slowly but continuously decreased to 178,612 in August, and rose again to 199,694 in October.

 

 

PRICES AND WAGES. – The following indices have been compiled by Professor Mortara:

 

 

 

Paper Issue

Paper Price of Gold

Wholesale prices

Cost of Living

Wages

Basis 1913-14

100

100

100

100

100

1921 1st half-year

772

460

551

560

540

1921 2nd

760

455

525

522

520

19221st

751

389

517

503

515

1922 2nd

751

430

542

498

505

1923 1st

716

401

539

495

485

1923 2nd

727

442

531

491

475

 

 

Both wages and cost of living have increased nearly five-fold since 1913-14. Prices have not risen in proportion to increase in the paper issues.

 

 

MONEY AND STOCKS. – The official rate of discount has been firm at 5,5 per cent, though the call on the money market is increasing. The clearings at the Italian clearing-houses, which in 1920 amounted to 578,030 milllion lire, were 690,821 millions in 1921, 601,851 millions in 1922, and 829,500 millions in 1923. The price of 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 Consols, which touched bottom in October, 1920, at 67.26 and 69.23 respectively, were 77.86 and 86.96 at the end of December, 1922, and increased almost continuously to 86.96 and 91.58 at the end of December, 1923. Professor Bachi’s index number of Italian share-values, on a basis of 100 in December, 1918, rose to 110.02 in the “boom” of 1919, and subsequently reached its lowest point, 56.45, in April, 1922. The year 1923 opened with an average of 72.82 in January. In August the index rose to 80.53, and in December to 85.67. The greatest rise occurred in silk; shares (286.74), cotton shares came a good second (246.02), then wool (223.41) and hemp (222.54) – all textiles. At the bot­tom were shipping shares, which, however, rose from 62.06 in December, 1922, to 67.79 in December, 1923; and iron and steel, which rose from 20.33 to 22.44.

 

 

PUBLIC FINANCE. – Excluding foreign debt, new debts incurred for balancing the public Budget amounted in 1918-19 to 11,800 million lire, in 1919-20 to 10,865 millions, in 1920-21 to 11,224 millions, in 1921-22 to 6,232 millions, and in 1922-23 to 2,605 millions. In the second six months of 1923 only 517 millions of new debt were contracted. The year marks a definite improvement in the situation. State and municipal finances are well on the way to equilibrium; the money market has been restored to a normal state; the worst period in the iron and steel industry has passed, and great progress has been made in other staple industries.

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