Price Movements

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The Economist

Data di pubblicazione: 24/07/1920

Price Movements

«The Economist», 24 luglio 1920, p. 146

 

 

 

Turin, July 16

 

 

The course of prices in Italy may be studied in the series of number indexes published every month by Professor Bachi, exactly after the method of the Economist’s Number Index. Professor Bachi, in a recent number of L’Economista, has published the whole series of his number index from 1913 to May, 1920, to which I am able to add, thanks to the kindness of the author, the number index for June. The basis 100 is the average price of 1901-5, as for your number index. The Italian indexes are all percentage numbers.

 

 

 

Date

Cereals and Meat

Other Food Products

Textiles

Minerals and Metals

Miscellaneous

Total

 

Economist’ Number Inde

 

1913 (average)

120-2

146-1

120-6

1210

117-9

126-0

_

1914 June

115-9

132-7

115-6

111-7

107-7

117-0

115-9

  December

136.0

119-8

102-2

142-1

113-6

119-7

127-3

1915 June

149-5

124-6

126-3

260-3

154-5

161-3

147-7

  December

178-2

166-2

170-3

3711

206-2

214-8

165-1

1916 June

184-8

194-7

194-1

459-7

232-8

242-8

191-5

  December

205-7

198-7

278-8

594-2

243-7

294-6

223-0

1917 June

229-8

249-4

371-0

722-5

297-1

362-9

256-6

  December

322-9

276-5

515-5

870-7

384-0

459-3

265-7

1918 June

335-5

3260

589-8

975-1

468-1

523-5

277-5

  December

365 0

418-4

584-3

520-9

509-5

468-9

277-0

1919 June

396-6

501-8

455-9

506-6

3960

4510

281-3

  December

420-4

544-9

793-5

706-4

477-1

576-2

334-7

1920 January

436-5

578-1

937-4

811-9

492-3

634-7

353-1

  February

438-6

582-2

1013-2

1036-7

522-7

701-0

370-9

  March

458-5

610-4

1159-6

1205-2

576-0

780-0

379-6

  April

475-2

712-6

1283-9

1302-5

630-8

855-7

374-2

  May

530-2

728-4

1012-8

1317-8

619-4

830-3

372-7

  June

535 0

741-1

895-3

1109-9

628-4

773-5

256-7

 

 

The general trend of prices is the same in Italy as in foreign countries, but the rise was eightfold, when in England it was not nearly fourfold. The difference between the rise in Italy and the rise in England may be partly explained by the rise in foreign exchanges, i.e., the depreciation of the Italian paper currency. The exchange on London, which in June, 1914, was almost at par, was at 122.9 per cent, in December, 1915, 129.3 per cent, in December, 1916, 156.6 per cent, in December, 1917, 120.2 per cent, in December, 1918, 198.7 per cent, in December 1919, and 260 per cent, in June, 1920. If we reduced Italian prices in the same proportion as the lira is depreciated, we could see that the rise (in British £) of Italian prices is less than the rise of British prices. Fortunately, the rise in wholesale prices, on which Professors Bachi’s index is based, is not wholly reflected in retail prices. Many prices are controlled, and others, as house rent, are fixed by law. If the cost of life had risen eightfold the social discountent would have been even more full of danger.

 

 

The set-back in prices has manifested itself in Italy somewhat later than in Great Britain, the high water mark being reached in April instead of in March. The decrease is limited to textiles and minerals and metals, i.e., to foreign imported goods, on the price of which the influence of decreasing maritime freights and of decreasing exchanges was the greatest. The rise was less in cereals and meat, other food and miscellaneous which are native goods.

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