Italy

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The Economist

Data di pubblicazione: 12/02/1938

Italy

«The Economist», 12 febbraio 1938 pp. 16-17

 

 

 

An additional number of figures to illustrate economic activity has become available this year, and it is now possible to indicate Italy’s progress in the main branches during the last few years. In 1937 there was a marked recovery, and in many instances pre-depression levels were exceeded. The year was notable for an improvement in crops, except in vine cultivation, which still lagged behind 1935. Wheat, rice, hemp and cocoons are State monopolies, and the advance in wheat output was most marked.

 

 

INDUSTRY. – The Corporations Department has published indices of industrial production (1928=100).

 

 

 

 

Textiles

Metallurgical and

Engineering

Building

Electricity and Gas

General Index

1929

101.7

104.6

139.6

106.5

109.2

1932

67.4

70.7

78.9

110.3

73.0

1933

76.3

72.8

93.4

119.2

80.5

1935

76.8

102.6

162.3

135.8

102.4

1936

70.1

118.7

91.9

140.5

95.5

1937

May

76.9

134.1

101.2

154.6

116.7

July

48.9

133.3

102.0

157.9

93.8

November

99.7

131.3

88.8

164.5

115.2

 

 

The textile and building industries were the only ones which did not exceed the highest levels of production in 1928 and 1929, largely because armament activity is not seriously felt in these trades.

 

 

FOREIGN TRADE. – Owing to the new importance of the Empire, the figures of trade with the colonies are now separated from those of trade with the rest of the world:

 

 

 

(in million lire)

Import (-) or Export (+)

Imports from

Exports to

Surplus in Trade with

Colonies

Foreign Countries

Colonies

Foreign Countries

Colonies

Foreign Countries

1933

78

7,354

212

5,779

+ 134

– 1,575

1934

93

7,582

259

4,965

+ 166

-2,617

1935

128

7,662

750

4,488

+ 622

-3,174

1936

156

5,883

1,717

3,830

+ 1,561

-2,053

1937

348

13,489

2,580

7,849

+ 2,232

-5,640

1937*

209

8,093

1,548

4,709

+ 1,339

-3,384

* Converted into pre-October -6-1936 lire at the legal rate.

 

 

The colonial trade consists mainly of supplies sent to military and civil corps operating in Oriental Africa. Among the items which covered the import surplus in the balance of payments the most important were tourists’ expenditure and the sale of State-owned foreign securities. Imports fell slightly, but their value increased by more than 90 per cent.; while ex­ports increased by almost 25 per cent, in volume, but only 37.4 per cent, in value.

 

 

PRICES, COST OF LIVING AND WAGES. – The year’s movements in the index of wholesale prices and its components were as follows (1928=100):

 

 

 

  Raw Materials Semi-finished

Products

Finished

Products

General Index
1929 ……………….

95.3

97.5

94.4

95.4

1934 ……………….

57.3

66.6

62.5

62.0

1936 ……………….

76.2

89.7

72.8

76.4

1937 June ………

91.6

100.2

82.9

89.6

December

93.9

109.4

91.3

96.4

 

 

After the alignment (devaluation by 41 per cent.) of the lira, wholesale price only increased by 25.3 per cent. Foodstuffs went up 22.3 per cent, in price, and the general cost of living rose by 17.6 per cent.; but, since wages per hour, the number of persons employed and the hours of work per man also increased, the average working family, working rather more strenu­ously, is probably better off than before devaluation.

 

 

MONEY MARKET AND STOCK EXCHANGE. – There was only very slight increase in bank deposits, and a very small transference of deposits from ordinary saving banks to other banks.

 

 

Average prices of 153 leading joint-stock companies’ variable dividend shares increased from 100 in 1932 to 104.1 in 1933, 118.9 in 1934,132.2 in 1935, 142.3 in 1936 and to a maximum of 183.3 in August, 1937. A decline to 167.5 in October then took place with a recovery to 174.8 in November. If we take as a basis prices for September, 1936, the month before the alignment of the lira, the index rose to 114.1 in December, 1936, and 128.9 in August, 1937, and then fell to 122.9 in November.

 

 

PUBLIC FINANCE. – On the basis of Budget statements by the Finance Minister, official papers and authorised communiques, the results of the last two fiscal years can be summed up as follows:

 

 

 

  Million Lire
1935-36:  
Expenditure

33,057

Revenue (including 401 millions for first quota of gold offered by citizens)

20,371

Deficit*

12,686

* Of which expenditure in East Africa accounted for 11,136 millions.

1936-37:

Expenditure: Ordinary

23,413

Revenue

24,702

Including:

i) Revaluation of the gold reserves of the Bank of Italy -1,649.

ii) Redemption by taxpayers of the extraordinary land and house tax -1,117

iii) Third quota of gold offered by citizens?

Surplus

1,289

but extraordinary expenditure was                

17,519

and there was thus an actual deficit of

16,230

 

The ways and means used to cover deficits of 30,946 last three years have been as follows:

 

 

Million Lire

 

Nine years Treasury bonds (1943)

2,000

Treasury Bills

7,800

Reconversion payment from 3-50 to 5 per cent

6,805

Land and houses compulsory 5 per cent, loan (to April 30, 1937) (exclusive of 1,117 millions redemption as above)

4,260

Current Ways and Means Account:

From the Deposits and Loans Bank

2,442

”     Bank of Naples

1,285

”     Bank of Italy

448

State 10 lire notes

1,350

 

5,525

Foreign and foreign domiciled Italian securities (to April 30, 1937)

2,207

 

28,597

 

 

The difference between this total and the total deficits was easily raised by the Treasury by various means not yet published. After the revaluation of the gold reserves of the Bank of Italy, the results of which (1,649 million lire) were appropriated by the State, the gold reserve of the Bank of Italy stood in December, 1937, at 4,022 million lire, the same as in October, 1936.

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