Italy

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The Economist

Data di pubblicazione: 13/02/1926

Italy

«The Economist», 13 febbraio 1926, pp. 15-16

 

 

 

FOREIGN TRADE. – Figures of foreign trade in 1925 and earlier years were as follow (precious metals and reparation excluded):

 

 

Imports

Exports

Excess of Imports Over Exports

1909-13

3,419

2,212

1,207

1920

26,822

11,744

15,048

1921

17,267

8,275

8,992

1922

15,765

9,302

6,463

1923

17,198

11,059

6,139

1924

19,388

14,318

5,070

1925 (Jan. to Nov.)

23,714

16,490

7,224

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As statistical methods were changed as from July 1, 1921, and the result was a drop of figures, the 1925 trade can be reported as a record. The excess of imports decreased from a monthly average of 976 millions in the first six months to an average of 273 millions in the five months from July to November. The adverse commercial balance for the whole year can be estimated at about 7,500 million lire, against 5,000 millions in 1924.

 

 

Crops. – The year may be considered good, especially as regards wheat and rice:

 

 

 

In Thousands of Tons

 

 

Average 1909-13

1923

1924

1925

 

Wheat

4,989.8

6,119.1

4,630.6

6,560.0

Maize

2,548.6

2,265.9

2,684.4

2,614.3

Rice

475.0

520.9

590.9

629.4

Grapes

7,096.6

8,384.8

7,107.5

7,143.4

Cocoons

40.8

42.6

49.4

40.6

 

 

Very good prices were obtained by the agriculturists, who are putting part of the money saved into agricultural betterments and buildings.

 

 

INDUSTRY. – Various indexes can be shown of the industrial progress of the year. The electrical energy sold in the first nine months of the year amounted to 4,789 millions ettowatt-hours, against 4,357 millions in the same period of the preceding year. Coal imported in the first eleven months increased from 6,816,109 to 7,862,577 tons. Broken iron, pig-iron, and steel imported in the same period from 456,334 to 882,655 tons. Copper, from 46,364 to 59,430 tons; lead, from 11,831 to 24,107 tons; tin, from 3,377 to 3,778 tons; zinc, from 8,996 to 12,202 tons. Raw cotton, from 186,372 to 224,312 tons; dried cocoons, from 1,230 to 2,591 tons. Imports of natural wool diminished from 28,140 to 26,783; but imports of raw jute increased from 39,116 to 43,486 tons, and of cellulose from 84,553 to 127,376 tons. Railways statistics are somewhat belated, but they give a total of goods loaded of 31,131,653 tons in the first half of 1925, against 27,265,792 tons in the corresponding period of 1924 (32,039,195 tons in second half, which is always the most productive); goods imported were 3,168,939 tons, against 2,190,367 tons in the first half of 1924; goods exported 1,689,534, against 1,619,929 tons. Notwithstanding an annual increase of population of 473,000 in the period 1919-24, employment is good. The number of unemployed, which was 280,775 on January 31, 1924, decreased to 135,785 at November 30, 1924, and to 112,059 at the corresponding date of 1925. It was as low as 72,764 at August 31, 1925.

 

 

Prices and Wages. – The usual set of index numbers published by Professor Mortara is as follows:

 

 

Wholesale Prices

 

 

Paper Issue

Paper Price of Gold

In Paper    Lire

In Gold     Lire

Cost of Living

Wages

 

1913-14

100

100

100

100

100

100

1927

766

457

538

117

541

530

1928

751

409

530

130

500

510

1929

722

422

535

127

494

478

1930

729

444

553

125

527

477

1931

767

486

646

133

623

533

 

 

There is, as usual, a lag in the movement of wages. Expert authorities note that the above official wages number index is not, perhaps, wholly representative. A really general index would not probably be lower than the cost of living index.

 

 

MONEY AND STOCKS. – Money was very dear all over the year; the official rate of discount, which had remained fixed at 5.50 per cent, during 1924, was raised to 6 per cent, in March, and to 7 per cent, on May 16 . On the same date the rate of discount of Treasury 9-12 months’ bill was also raised from 4.50 to 6 per cent. The clearings at the Italian clearing houses, which totaled 52.9 billions lire in 1914, reached 298.9 in 1919, 845.1 in 912.1 in 1924, and 1,155.8 in 1925. Bachi’s number index for share prices, on the basis of 100 for December, 1918, was 130.3 for December, and continued to rise until February, 1925, when it reached 146. At that date came a reaction, partly in consequence of various decrees regulating Stock Exchange organisation. The bottom was touched in October at 116.6, but quotations never completely recovered, closing the year at 122.8.

 

 

Public Finance. – The deficit in the State Budget has given place to a surplus of 417 million lire. Public internal debts, which amounted to 93,163 million lire at June 30, 1924, decreased to 90,847 millions at June 30, 1925, increasing again to 91,536 at December 31, 1925. But the last increase of 689 million lire was largely offset by the increase between the same dates, June 30 and December 31, 1925, of the sum placed to the credit of the Treasury at the Bank of Italy from 236.2 to 1,550 million lire. Budget surpluses and the settlement of the American and British debts are a strong foundation to a policy of stabilisation of the lira.

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