Italy’s foreign trade and gold exports

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The Economist

Data di pubblicazione: 27/11/1909

Italy’s foreign trade and gold exports

«The Economist», 27 novembre 1909, p. 1093

 

 

 

Italy’s foreign trade statistics for the first nine months of the year, now published, bear witness to a revival after the crisis of 1908. From 1900 onwards the figures of imports and exports went on increasing, sometimes by leaps and bounds. The 1908 marks a break in the progressive movement, as the following table, giving the foreign trade of the country for the first nine months of the year (precious metals excluded), shows:

 

 

First Nine Months of

Imports Lire

Exports Lire

 

1900

1,249,619,722

967,014,400

1907

2,163,581,509

1,396,376,455

1908

2,096,999,237

1,256,662,004

1909

2,227,126,825

1,319,284,125

 

 

The crisis of 1907 made itself severely felt in Italy, and the effect is seen in these statistics. But in the current year the movement is again reversed. The most remarkable variations in the imports were the following (in the first nine months of 1909, against the corresponding period in 1908):

 

 

Increaeses

£

Decreases

£

Cereals, flour, &c

121,783,012

Minerals, metals, &c

77,051,120

Animals and animal products

29,879,640

Cars

17,215,247

Spirits, oils, &c

25,608,383

Chemical, drugs, dyes, and colours

11,196,904

Earthenware and glass

21,420,341

Cotton                                                                         10,815,317

10,815,317

Wood and timber

18,241,484

 

 

The increases are in part due to the deficiency of home crops and to increasing consumption. The decreases may be attributed to the smaller number of new factories established and the enlargement of the old. The State railways have also reduced their purchases of locomotives and cars. In the exports these where the most notable changes:

 

 

Increaeses

 

£

Decreases

£

Silk

49,209,063

Spirits and oils

19,265,375

Cotton (manufactured)

23,520,604

Animals and animal products

16,245,404

Hemp, linen, jute, &c

14,890,380

Chemicals, drugs, dyes, and colours

6,201,077

 

 

The textile industry, although put to a severe test by the crisis, gallantly held its own. The silk industry, which is the mainstay of Italy’s foreign trade, sold increasing quantities of the products to the foreigner. The Protectionists will no doubt raise the cry of Italy’s poverty, as this year there has been an excess of exports over imports of gold and other precious metals, a consequence of the huge excess of imports over exports in other goods. The following table makes this clear:

 

 

First Nine Months of

Excess of Imports over Exports of Goods other than Precious Metals

Excess of Imports over Exports of Precious Metals

Lire

Lire

1902

239,238,532

2,209,600

1903

286,772,245

70,471,500

1904

255,343,282

27,731,300

1905

276,362,163

83,983,600

1906

450,293,889

47,519,600

1907

767,205,054

112,116,200

1908

840,337,233

4,518,700

1909

907,842,700

-39,719,300

 

 

From year to year, in spite of an increasing excess of imports over exports, Italy has imported a surplus of gold and other precious metals. In the year 1909, however, the excess of imports over exports of goods has grown to over 100 million lire per month, and, for the first time since 1902, it has been necessary to export some 40 millions of specie in partial payment of the goods imported. The transaction is perfecdy sound, but the Protectionists will certainly declare that Italy is being ruined by the export of her gold reserve. Our correspondent notes that the metal reserves of the Bank of Italy are today as high or higher than in any moment of her career, and further adds that, in spite of the alleged gold pauperisation, the official rate of discount of the same bank has been maintained, in the recent period of universal monetary tension, at 5 per cent., and the actual rate of discount for fist-rate firms has been raised only from 33/4 to 5 per cent. There is now no probability of further advances.

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