Italy
Tipologia : Paragrafi/Articoli
Data pubblicazione : 13/07/1935

Italy

«The Economist», 13 luglio 1935, p. 70

 

 

 

Rates of interest rising – During past months there has been a continuous and steady fall in the prices of fixed interest securities and a rise in prices of variable dividend securities. According to the Milan Economic Council, the index of 14 leading debentures (December, 1925=100), after touching the high point of 113.79 on August 31, 1934, had fallen to 104.79 by May 25, 1935. Prices are, however, largely nominal; and the total value of debentures daily transacted oscillates between 0.21 and 0.05 per thousand lire of total issues. The decrease is partly due to conversion, which have reduced the net yield of securities during the past year. The 3.50 per cent. State Redeemable stock, which enjoys a very large market, after being quoted at 97.17 in the first ten days of February, 1934, when it was still on a 5 per cent. basis, had fallen to 85.02 by December, 1934, and to 70 by the end of the present week. It appears that the current rate of interest for high-class securities is again as high as 5 per cent., with a few exceptions for land and real estate (Credito fondiario) debentures, which are on a 4.50 per cent. basis. The rise in the rate of interest is general. Private discount rates on fine commercial bills, which in May, 1934, were 3 per cent. to 3.50 per cent., were 3.50 per cent. to 4 per cent. in May this year. For financial bills the rise is from 3.75 – 5.50 per cent. to 4.25 – 5.25 per cent. Carry-over rates in the Stock Exchanges rose similarly for the best industrial securities from 3.75 – 4.25 to 4 – 4.50 per cent.

 

 

Variable dividend shares (December, 1925=100) advanced from 48.12 in December, 1932, to 65.14 in December, 1934, and to 75.01 on May 25, 1935. The biggest relative increases (between December 31, 1932 and March 25, 1935) took place in the textiles (12.15 to 24.21), iron and steel and engineering (35.41 to 73.06), electricity (46.70 to 84.03), food and miscellaneous (64.76 to 101.67) markets. The money absorbed by the shares market is not, however, very great.

 

 

Bank deposits are not increasing. Between December, 1934, and April, 1935, postal saving bank’s deposits decreased from 20,431.9 million lire to 20,257.6 million lire; and between December and March deposits in the ordinary millions. In the public banks, ordinary banks and popular and regional banks there was a slight increase between December and April; saving deposits increased from 9,415.8 millions to 9,447.6 millions, and current account deposits from 2,349.2 millions to 2,388.4 millions. The correspondents’ credits item at the ordinary banks, which in Italy includes most current accounts, fell between December and April from 13,641.8 to 13,450.9 millions.

 

 

PRODUCTION INCREASING: Production is increasing, as the new indices of the Department of Corporations demonstrate:

 

 

(Industrial Production, 1928=100)

 

December 1929

December 1932

December 1934

April 1935

Textiles

101.7

67.4

73.6

89.7

Iron and steel

111.2

72.6

91.7

112.5

Engineering

104.0

70.5

75.5

90.2

Paper

106.8

103.0

120.5

129.6

Building

139.6

78.9

136.0

184.2

Electricity, gas

106.5

110.3

125.5

128.4

General index

109.1

73.0

88.3

106.8

 

 

Industrial activity is not much below the 1929 level; and in the iron and steel, paper, building and electricity industries it is even higher. The figures do not prove the usual hypothesis that only war industries are working at high pressure, because the last three groups are not directly connected with war activity. The spectacular increase in building activity is reacting in many ways upon general activity.

 

 

Unemployment had fallen to 755,349 at the end of May, against 941,257 at the same time last year. The dispatch of the Colonies of 600,000 to 700,000 more young men has obviously eased the labour market; but the unemployment statistics could never be literally trusted. Compared with a total unemployed figure rising sometimes to over 1,000,000, the number of men receiving relief in 1934 was only 155,650 on the average. In countries like Italy or France, however, where people live mostly on their farms or in small shops or are independent artisans, the total may not be as alarming as it looks. It may be that in Italy, when the figure falls to, say, 600,000 there are not true unemployed. Some of the 600,000 do not care to work at all, and the rest are simply waiting for a better opportunity, earning a living meanwhile on casual jobs. Notwithstanding the 755,349 men and women now on the unemployment rolls, entrepreneurs are at times finding it difficult to obtain good hands.

 

 

The wheat yield promises to be better than in 1934. It will probably be over 7,000,000 tons, against 6,200,000 last year. The State is this year advancing 900 lire per ton of wheat to the farmers who deposit it in public granaries, and leave to public bodies the task of selling it at the most favourable moment. As a result of the very low prices paid last year for cocoons (2 to 2.50 lire per kilogram), the Government has promised a premium of 1 lira in cases where the sale of cocoons is trusted to co-operative bodies.

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